In a fantastic showcase of UK shepherding skills, four young competitors from Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland dominated the European Ovinpiades Young Shepherd Competition in Paris recently.  Winner of the entire competition was Glynllifon level 2 Agriculture student Dafydd Davies, from Penbryn Coch, Parc near Bala, who took the highly coveted and prestigious title of European Young Shepherd for 2018.

Supported by the National Sheep Association (NSA) and AHDB Beef and Lamb, and sponsored by Randall Parker Foods, the UK competitors were required to demonstrate sheep husbandry and industry knowledge via taking competing in quizzes and carrying out practical tests, including use of electronic identification (EID), sheep movements and finished lamb assessments

Dafydd qualified for the European competition following success in the NSA Next Generation Shepherds' Competition at NSA Welsh Sheep in May 2017.  With more than 1,100 Welsh Mountain ewes on his family farm at Penbryn Coch in Bala, Dafydd gets plenty of practice working with sheep, although he was one of the younger competitors at just 18 years old.

Dafydd said: 

"It was a great experience to take part in the Ovinpiades in Paris. The competition was challenging so I was really pleased to win the European section. I am now looking forward to competing in the final of the NSA Next Generation Shepherds' Competition at the NSA Sheep Event in Worcestershire this July.

"I hope to go on to study Agriculture at degree level at Aberystwyth University once I finish my second year at Glynllifon, where I am resident during the week. After that, my plan is to spend some time sheep shearing in New Zealand before returning to the family farm.  I intend to stay with the family tradition of keeping Welsh Black cattle as well as our 1,100 Welsh mountain ewes on our land."

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: "Congratulations to Dafydd….it is heartening for the UK sheep sector to know we have such enthusiasm and skills coming through for the future. The NSA Next Generation programme is all about encouraging individuals such as these, and we are proud of the opportunity NSA Next Generation Shepherds' Competitions offer at a regional, national, European and international level."

Glynllifon farm manager Rhodri Manod Owen said:

"Dafydd is a strong student of ours on the agriculture course at Glynllifon, and we are extremely proud of his achievement at Paris. Dafydd has been a bit of a celeb since returning to the UK, with radio and tv crews queuing up to speak to him as the newly-crowned Young Shepherd for Europe, but Dafydd has his feet firmly on the ground and has taken it all in his stride. This is a young farmer who looks set to do well. We are now looking forward to seeing him compete at the UK NSA Next Generation Shepherds' Competition in July."

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor offers a range of courses and qualifications. If you need more information on any of our courses, please visit the courses section of their website at www.gllm.ac.uk/courses or contact their course advice line on 01341 422 827.