A grant scheme, Supporting Farmers to Diversify, has been introduced in rural Carmarthenshire to support farming households seeking to diversify into non agricultural activity.
RDP Sir Gâr, a Carmarthenshire County Council organisation based at the West Wales European Centre, has grants of up to £50,000 for the conversion of redundant buildings for business purposes and a further grant of up to £10,000 for capital equipment.
The scheme aims to broaden the economic base of rural Carmarthenshire whilst safeguarding the future of farming families in the area. The main objectives are to maintain and increase the income of farm households and to retain young people in the farming industry by helping them to develop alternative sources of income and alternative employment opportunities.
Farmers’ wife and young entrepreneur Nerys Llewelyn Jones of Llanwrda has benefitted from an RDP Sir Gâr grant, using it to convert an unused farm building into an office for her new business: Agri Advisors.
Agri Advisors offer legal advice to farmers and landowners on all agricultural matters including CAP schemes, Succession Planning, probate of farming estates and land disputes. Nerys set up the practice last year to offer a unique and important legal service for those who live in rural areas. Along with her husband, Nerys also farms at Henllan in Pumsaint and it’s her background in farming that helps her provide a service which is tailored to her clients’ needs.
RDP Sir Gâr has a range of projects designed to help regenerate rural Carmarthenshire and Nerys received further assistance from more of its schemes including; Dewis Menter (business support), Mentro (young entrepreneur advisory service) and the Redundant Rural Building Grant*.
Nearly £12m of RDP funding is being invested in the area since 2011 with the intention of improving the quality of life for rural businesses, farmers, communities and individuals.
Nerys said: “Starting a new business in the current economic climate was a massive undertaking especially when you are faced with the statistics of how many businesses fail within the first year of trading. Despite the scepticism that you often face from others about your business venture, I am so glad that I have given it a go and taken that leap of faith in my ability to run and manage my own business.
“Sitting at an office desk which looks out directly on to a field of grazing sheep and to be working without having commuted more than 10 yards is marvellous. The support I received from RDP Sir Gar has made this possible”
Cllr Meryl Gravell, Executive Board Member Regeneration and Leisure, said: “It is great to see the effect that the RDP funding is having in enabling wonderful new businesses to spring up in Carmarthenshire.
“I would like to wish Nerys Llewelyn Jones well in her new business which is not only based in the countryside but provides an important service for the rural community.”
*These projects are funded by the Rural Development Plan (RDP) for Wales 2007 – 2013 which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.