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Rob Morgan is a fifth-generation farmer, and he’s grown the family farm into a popular Welsh Christmas experience – Gower Fresh Christmas Tree Farm – along with sunflowers, lavender and pumpkins to attract visitors throughout the year. Standing amongst his reindeer herd, he talks about how losing his father to suicide in 1999 has motivated him to carve out his new approach to farming and shares his thoughts on some of the challenges famers are facing.
Fifth generation. We used to be a mixed farm. Obviously, we had sheep, cattle, arable crops, vegetable crops. Years ago we’d our own slaughterhouses and things like that. So yeah, the farm declined in size a bit, but now it's slowly getting bigger with the crops we have behind us here. Christmas trees, pumpkins, sunflowers, lavender. I'm not sure what my forefathers or grandfathers would think of the varying crops we are doing, but obviously to keep farming or to keep myself even here to be honest, I had to change things up, to adapt and survive, to be a farmer in this day and age, to be honest.
Years ago, obviously, when I came into this business, was with my dad. We had some great times, but like many farmers, don't take the time off themselves to appreciate and take a break from farming.
They just get lost in the job, like I'm standing here now and I can see a reindeer with a small limp. So there’s always something on your mind as a farmer. And then once you’ve got 300 acres, there's lots of things on your mind. But it's so important to take a break, and you know…life will pass you by on a farm otherwise.
Growing up on a farm, my hero was my father, and my mother. But obviously, when I lost my father, then it's a shock to the system, a shock to the community, a shock to the family. It sent shock waves. But, you know, personally to me, I just remember thinking I couldn't get any lower, to be honest, at a certain time. And it was quite, I don’t know....I wouldn't say it's a lightning bolt moment, but I remember just thinking it doesn't get any worse than this. And so, you know, you’re just like a phoenix from the flames then, and you come back and you come back stronger.
But obviously what my father must have gone through in the last weeks or months, you wouldn't want to go through yourself. So that's probably helped me to gain strength and to get me here today. But part of that was obviously readjusting the farm to not put the pressures on myself. Obviously change it, make it more profitable and help myself, you know, to get to in a natural age of, of life, to be honest, rather than to go down the route of my father. Which is, you know…it can be very close to a lot of people.
I, like many others, wouldn’t talk enough over the years and they bottle it up. You don’t want to show weakness, you don't go to the mart, you know, you don't go to your local mart and say to the farmer next to you, ‘I don't really want to wake up in the morning’,
‘I don't want to do work’, you know, ‘I cry’. You're not going to say that. You need to…just open up. You know, life's too short. Every day is the best day. Rain or shine. The sun always shines.
But you need to enjoy yourself, your family. There's more to it than farming. But we have got a burden of a farm some days. But, you know, there's a lot of help out there, even if it’s financial help, solicitor, planner. Anything like that, there’s help out there.
We don't have to do it all alone.

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