A Ceredigion family have won The Royal Countryside Fund and M&S farming award at this year’s Royal Welsh Show.
Endaf and Meinir Jenkins, along with their sons, John and Wiliam and daughter, Nest, have received their award during the M&S Select Farm Awards ceremony at this year’s Royal Welsh Show.
The judges commended the Jenkins family for their forward-thinking approach to environmentally-friendly farming and succession planning.
After their marriage in 1995, Meinir and Endaf moved to Ynysforgan in Lledrod, which had not been occupied for 40 years. The farm has grown to host a 450-head herd consisting of 190 suckler cows and their followers, 2000 Improved Welsh Ewes and a recent diversification of 80,000 free range laying hens. The farm supplies beef and lamb to M&S through Dawn Meats.
The couple have three children, John, Nest and Wiliam and feel very lucky that both sons have chosen to follow in their footsteps and are now working full time on the farm.
John and Wiliam have been instrumental in the development of the farm, which has always aimed to be innovative, with installation of ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar panels that help with the efficiency of the business. Nest is a journalist and presenter with ITV and enjoys returning to the farm on every opportunity.
“We feel that the key to a successful family farm is to enjoy what we do,” comments Endaf. “We always say that every meal time is a chance to regroup and discuss our day-to-day tasks. With farming being a notoriously isolated profession, we believe that communication and appreciation is crucial to running a profitable business.”
“Perhaps one of the strong points of being a family unit is that we all contribute to every aspect of the farm,” he continues. “All four enjoy the stockmanship and trying to improve our stock is always at the forefront of our thinking.” The family undertakes most of the tractor work themselves and feel fortunate that Endaf also likes mechanical work and maintains all the machinery.
“It is a great honour to win this award,” says Meinir. “We are so lucky of all three of our children and the drive, venture and hard work of John and Wiliam on the farm makes life very exciting for Endaf and myself. We are also very grateful to local staff that contribute immensely to the day-to-day running of the farm.”
Commenting on the award, Keith Halstead, Executive Director at The Royal Countryside Fund said: “At a time when environmental considerations and change are essential in farming, there is a need to embrace new opportunities that are good for nature, producing healthy food and, most importantly, farmers’ livelihoods. The ways in which Endaf and Meinir have developed their business is evidently based on a strong family foundation, with a flair for thinking innovatively to sustain their unique farm enterprise. All of us at the Royal Countryside Fund congratulate the Jenkins family on receiving this award.”
Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture and Fisheries at M&S, said: "Every day, our Select Farmers and suppliers go to extraordinary lengths to deliver great quality M&S food while demonstrating best-in-class innovation, animal welfare, sustainability, and biodiversity.
"We truly appreciate the Jenkins’ family’s commitment to producing quality food in a way that is centred around a strong family ethos, and an impeccable work ethic.”