Farmers attending the annual NFU Cymru Monmouthshire County Conference were treated to an entertaining presentation by guest speaker Ben Briggs, Editor of Farmers Guardian.

The event, held recently at The Three Salmons Hotel, attracted a large crowd who received an informative talk from Ben Briggs, as well as a policy update from NFU Cymru President Aled Jones.

Ben Briggs started his presentation by providing the audience with a history of the Farmers Guardian and detailing his own path to taking the editor’s chair at the Farmers Guardian in 2016.

He then gave members some insight into the magazine’s priorities, stating that livestock news was very popular amongst his readers.

He added: “We’re here to inform and distil down the big political and technical issues into interesting and easy to understand pieces for our readers.”

Ben Briggs then went on to discuss the importance of farming to the environment, the economy and rural communities. He said: “I think it’s absolutely incumbent upon the unions and the press to fly the flag for farming, because there are enough people criticising the industry.

“We should be really proud of what the farming industry does to shape our landscapes, feed our people and, particularly in Wales, farming is such a key part of the social fabric, as well.

‘‘It’s absolutely imperative government and ministers enact policies that allow people to get on and farm. If we lose that critical mass of people from rural areas it affects schools, young farmers’ clubs and businesses. I think NFU Cymru’s work is key to protecting all of those important qualities that make rural communities so special.”

Ben Briggs then provided details of some of Farmers Guardian’s campaign work, including the successful ‘Mart’s the Heart’, ’24 hours in farming’ and ‘Farming CAN’ initiatives. He also gave the audience some background to the ‘Take the Lead’ campaign, which has seen more than 70,000 gatepost signs distributed on footpaths and rights of way over a decade to impress upon dog owners to keep their animals on a lead around livestock.

He said Farmers Guardian did its best to ensure its campaigning work ‘doesn’t just preach to the converted’ in order to ensure its messaging reaches a larger audience.

NFU Cymru President Aled Jones then spoke to members to provide an important update on the union’s work across a number of key areas including water quality, future policy, tree planting and bovine TB.

Speaking after the event, NFU Cymru Monmouthshire County Chair Emma Robinson said: “It was a real privilege to be able to welcome a high calibre speaker like Ben Briggs to our county conference. He gave an entertaining talk about his experiences as Editor of Farmers Guardian and the political heavyweights he has interviewed as a journalist. It was great to kick off my tenure as NFU Cymru Monmouthshire County Chair with such a brilliant evening that all our members seemed to really enjoy.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to our outgoing NFU Cymru Monmouthshire County Chairman Dave Edwards, who has been a passionate ambassador for farmers in the county over the last few years and has carried out his duties superbly.”