4 boys, 4 Tractors ,Ten years, 4 men.
In 2006 Simply The Best Training were approached by the Anthony family about Tractor training for their son Jacob and friend Nathan. They have a large hill farm, Cwm Risca, and they wanted some formal training.
Lantra Awards have a specific course – Tractor driving for 13-16 year olds, but we were unable to secure any funding as the boys were under 16.
Peter and Emma Anthony commented “It is such a good idea to have this sort of training available to young Farmers, as they learn correct techniques, before they develop bad habits.”
“ It was then we had the idea of sponsoring such a course, as our son Rhidian and our nephew Rhys were the same age as Jacob and Nathan, and all four were in Young Farmers together” said Julie Thomas of Simply The best training.
Jacob’s grandfather David Anthony (Bompa )then contacted JG Plant for help with the sponsorship, and so in April, Simply The Best held a Lantra Awards course, using tractors supplied by JG Plant for the 2 members of Bridgend YFC, and the 2 members of Llantrisant YFC.
So, 10 years on, where are the 4 boys now? S
They are all still members of YFC, and are still adding to their skill sets.
After leaving school Jacob studied Agriculture in Hartpury where he gained a triple distinction.
After completing his education Jacob has returned home to the family farm which is a beef and sheep hill farm – Jacob now assumes the main responsibility for the Texel x Lleyn flock as well as being involved in the management and running of all aspects of the farming business.
Jacob was part of the Agri Academy programme in 2014 – something he says was a fantastic opportunity – they were privileged to be flown to Milan to have a dinner meeting with the British Consulate General to promote Welsh produce.
In 2016 Jacob has become an NSA Young Ambassador which is a role he is thoroughly enjoying. He is learning about and helping to promote the Sheep industry – which he is incredibly passionate about. Jacob is also currently part of the NFU Cymru’s next generation board and a member of the Future Farmers of Wales Club. He is currently vice chairman of Bridgend YFC, and has been part of winning brains trust teams going forward to Wales level several times. Jacob has also stock judged Lambs and Beef at both Welsh and National level.
Jacob is currently the proud owner of a New Holland T5.105. On rare occasions – he also gets to drive his Dads tractor which is a New Holland T7 supplied by JG Plant.
Jacob said “My vison for the future is to see farming become a flourishing and prosperous Industry- where we can continue to produce top quality products and receive a fair price to hopefully ensure the long term future of farming in Great Britain.”
After leaving school, Rhidian completed an apprenticeship as a heavy plant engineer with Hewden in Cardiff Docks. He left when the depot closed, and came home to farm, and trained up as a Lantra Instructor as part of Simply The Best Training Company.
He travelled to Canada where he spent some time tagging Salmon as part of a government project in remote wilderness around Phillip’s arm, British Columbia. He went on to New Zealand and Hong Kong before returning home ready for that season’s lambing.
He did some freelance engineering work and then joined JG Plant as a fitter in July 2015. He still works on the farm as well, and is very involved with the pedigree breeding of their South Wales Mountain sheep flock, which he has shown at the Royal Welsh show, and still finds time to do the odd bit of ATV instructing for Simply The Best.
Rhidian has competed at YFC competitions at Welsh level in Fencing, debating, ATV, Woodwork, Dancing, 5 minutes of fame, and is an accomplished performer in Drama, Panto and entertainments, and has been Treasurer and Chairman of Llantrisant YFC.
At home Rhidian drives a Mc Cormick CX105, and 2 CASE 1594’s, and is busy on a restoration project of the Ford 5000 his grandfather bought new from JG Plant in 1967!
Rhidian comments “As a fitter with JG Plant, I have been back to Cwm Risca and worked on the tractors there in the same area where we ran the course. A lot has happened in those 10 years to us four boys, but tractors and Young Farmers are still right up there!”
Rhys left school with 8 GCSE A*-C grade, a distinction in Level 2 Engineering, 3 AS level in Geography, Business Studies, Design & Technology. Rhys began an apprenticeship as an Electrician he qualified with a distinction and worked as an electrician until lambing 2014 when he returned home to work on the farm.
He and his father run a 720 Ewe flock and Rhys uses EID to maximise and monitor lamb growth. They have run various studies and used the information to improve production.
He helps manage the farms diversifications, Hydro Generation, Ground Source, Campsite, and Lakeside Venue. He has designed and installed all Electric Hook up and a low energy system in the family diversification Our Welsh Caravan & Camping. He has won Stock judging at NFYFC Glamorgan County Level and competes for Llantrisant YFC, Rhys is also currently part of the NFU Cymru’s next generation board with Jacob. He has played club rugby at the Millenium Stadium, and has been part of Glamorgan YFC rugby team with Rhidian and Jacob at the royal welsh show.
Rhys drives a John Deere 6430, New Holland TS90 and he and his father have a collection of County Tractors County 1004, 764 and 754 Highlander.
Rhys comments “I want to see a sustainable future for farming, and it is essential these days for farmers to add to their skills.”
After leaving school Nathan started a welding and fabrication course at Bridgend College, and also did some work at Cwm Risca. He then went self- employed offering fencing, drainage and operating plant, tractors and machinery services around farms.
When he was self- employed on a remediation job, Tom Prichard, who runs a large Contracting operation was impressed with his work and offered him a job as a tractor driver and machinery operative. In the past 5 years of being with Tom Prichard he has accumulated a number of CPCS tickets and licences, including tractors, tracked and wheeled excavators, loading shovel, crushers and screeners, which has enabled him to gain experience in all aspects of contracting work .
He has been promoted to supervisor of one of the multiple recycling yards in which they specialize in reclamation of stone from soils and the recycling of stone back to usable products. He covers the day to day running of the recycling yard while still operating a wheeled loading shovel, crusher and screens.
Nathan explains “I have always loved operating tractors and machinery, and that first course in Cwm Risca certainly helped me launch my career in contracting.”