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The Golden Jubilee 1952-2002

It's our working jubilee too!

Val Proudfoot
Les Henry
David Conn
Jim Kerr
Jack Shirvell
Tom Griffith
Lesley Eke
Audrey Hawkin
Dai Owen
Jim Dade
Sadie Jefferson
James Finlay
Dai Owen
Dai Owen considers himself to be a lucky man. For the past 50 years he has been doing the same job, a job he clearly loves.

He farms 230 acres of land at Bronnant, just outside Aberystwyth, in some of the most beautiful countryside in Wales.

Walking across the lush fields, to check on his flock of 400 sheep, the tranquility of the rural scene is disturbed only by the occasional low-flying RAF jet.

Dai thinks that farming is in the blood, and after 50 years on the land, finds it difficult to imagine doing a different job.

"I wouldn't have been doing it if I didn't like it, that's for sure," he says.

Five generations on the land

Dai enjoys the simple pleasures his job brings
"When I came down from Aberystwyth University, if I'd wanted to get a job I could have, but I came home to the family farm. I'm the fifth generation farming here on this land.

"If you don't like it, it's a hopeless job, but that's the same for a lot of other jobs as well. If you are only in it for the money, and nine-to-five, then farming is certainly not the place to be."

Dai has seen the way technology has transformed agriculture. Once, the farmer had to wrap him self up against the elements when he worked the land.

Today he can sit in the air-conditioned cab of a modern tractor. So in some ways, the job has become easier.

"I can remember milking cows by hand," he says.

Farming comes first

"Then we went to the milking machine, and now my brother has a milking parlour with a stainless steel tank, and bulk collection."

But the perhaps the biggest change is the one that causes the greatest headache for farmers like Dai: the paperwork.

If you are planning to sell livestock, the farm's records have to be kept with great care, with each animal clearly identified.

"If the paper work isn't right, the animals are worthless," says Dai, "so bad paper work is very bad news."

But despite the frustrations, Dai says that for him, farming has always come "first, second and last" and he has never seriously contemplated doing anything else. And for him it is a commitment that spans generations.

Living forever

"There is an old saying that if you are a farmer, you have got to work as if you are going to die tomorrow, and farm as if you are going to live forever.

"When a cow gets the bull, it is two and a half years before you have something to sell. Even with milking, it is an annual cycle.

"We have got a lot of beech trees here that were planted by my grandfather over a 100 years ago. My job in my 50 years has been to look after them, which I think I have done."

Dai is a very healthy-looking 71, and does not think about retirement, although he acknowledges that he now does less than he did in his younger days.

"When you stop getting pleasure from your work, then it is time to pack it in," he says.

Making time

"But I see something new every day. I walked round a pond last week and saw eleven newts in it.

"I just sat down there and watched. That is a simple pleasure, and maybe 25 years ago I would have thought I didn't have the time for it. I am making the time for it now."

Pressed on what he might have done, had he not been born into the farming life, Dai thinks he would have wanted to have been involved in forestry.

"I would want to be in something creative…I could not imagine being in an office, pushing a pen. I have planted a lot of trees here…the fruits of your labour are visible and tangible.

"We all inherit a landscape, and hopefully we will leave a heritage of landscape as well."

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