Graham Jones Interview
10th May 2021
New Members of the Senedd should get out on farms
The chairman of the NSA Wales & Border Ram Sales, Graham Jones, is calling on the newly elected Senedd to pay more attention to farming. Graham, who farms near Nelson with his wife, Mary, said he was ‘pretty disillusioned’ with the way Wales has been run in recent years.
He added: “These are momentous times in the countryside and it’s vitally important to the agricultural community that government gets any changes right. It’s even more important for the whole of society that government, both in Cardiff and Westminister, gets it right because get it wrong and it will take many years to rectify.
“Politicians and civil servants really need to come out and meet the people on our farms. There’s no substitute for actually meeting people.
“Members of the Senedd desperately need to re-engage with rural people and with farming. Just think of the proportion of Wales that is rural and that is dependent on agriculture.
“I’m pretty disillusioned with Cardiff and the way they are running things, certainly with the NVZ point of view. I’m all for improving the environment, but they’re not prepared to police many of the laws they already have in place.
“I’m quite actively involved with grazing on the commons and they fall well short of where they should be when it comes to commons. And yet they can turn round then and try and inflict the NVZ rules without really thinking about it.”
Meanwhile, Graham is upbeat about the prospects for the NSA Wales & Border Ram Sales, to be held in August and September this year. They had to be cancelled last year because of the pandemic, a decision Graham says proved right, as there was ‘no way it could have possibly gone ahead’.
He adds: “We have met the Royal Welsh officials and they’re very supportive of the sale and given how keen members of our committee are, I’m quite sure it will be successful. I was heartened by the response we had from the Royal Welsh.
“People will probably be very glad to get onto the Royal Welsh Showground. There hasn’t been a show again this year, so perhaps it’ll be a warm up for the Winter Fair.
“It’s been there for so long, but having said that we’ve really got to be on our toes. Some habits will have changed and it’s vitally important that we do get it re-established, being we’ve been given the green light.
“I think it’ll be alright. There will be problems and it may be slightly different, but we’ll just have to adapt. There are challenges in that possibly some people will have found it easier to buy what they wanted closer to them.
“I think we’ve got to get the message across that, if you go to Builth, you’ve got a choice and it’s a wide genetic pool. There’s something to fit almost everybody’s budget. You’ve also got a level of inspection and that gives quite a bit of confidence.”
He not worried about online sales with regards to buying a sire. He says the farmer’s eye is still as important as the data. Farmers know that if they choose the wrong ram or bull then they have to look at him for quite a few years. It’s important to get the choice right!