Scholarship winners to take fact-finding tour of US

The recipients of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales’ (HCC’s) 2016 scholarship have been announced at a reception at the Royal Welsh Show. 

Brecon-based beef and sheep farmer Richard Roderick and Peter Rushforth, a young butcher from Mold, have been awarded scholarships, which provides up to £3,000 a year to successful applicants who work in the red meat sector. This can be used to visit and gain an understanding of farming and processing techniques in country of their choice. The purpose of the trip is to search for practices and methods that can benefit the Welsh red meat sector.

Roderick and Rushforth will spend between four to six weeks at their chosen destinations.

“We were very pleased to offer the HCC Scholarship to two extremely motivated and ambitious individuals this year,” said James Ruggeri, HCC’s industry development executive. “Both Richard and Peter will travel to America. Their topics are completely different but still very relevant to the red meat sector in Wales.”

Roderick, who alongside his wife Helen, keeps over 1,000 breeding ewes and 260 ewe lambs, as well as a herd of suckler cows at Newtown Farm. He is currently changing the direction of his beef production systems and wants to produce meat from a smaller, more efficient forage-based suckler cow.

During his visit to the US, he will investigate breeding options. His aim is to look at successful businesses and gather their data and knowledge to inform and develop his own farming practices.

During his visit, Roderick will also look into cattle genetics as he feels that genetic improvements have been a great success in the American beef industry. It is his hope that first-hand experience of these developments will benefit his own business.

Meanwhile, Rushforth works at Swan’s Farm Shop near Mold where he has won numerous awards, including Welsh Young Butcher Champion 2014 and 2015.

During his visit to the US, Rushforth is keen to find out how the red meat sector copes with demand and how it processes large volumes, as well as looking at butchery techniques for the forequarter to add value and the ageing process. In addition, he will investigate America’s take on charcuterie.

“We look forward to hearing the outcomes of their travels and new-found knowledge, and to learning how their findings can benefit two areas within the sector here in Wales,” added Ruggeri.

“The HCC Scholarship Association now includes 49 people who have visited countries on every single continent. They have brought back a wealth of experience which is being shared with their peers across Wales.”

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