Welsh-speaking university students from rural areas of Wales must be given every opportunity to return to jobs and homes in their own communities to help preserve the language, the Farmers' Union of Wales bilingual and publicity committee was told recently.
Guest speaker, Ceredigion County Council leader Ellen ap Gwynn, stressed that every effort must be made to motivate young people to speak Welsh and give them plenty of opportunity to use the language in their workplace.
"But older members of staff working for any organisation should also be motivated and encouraged to either learn the language or further improve their Welsh language skills," she said.
Cllr ap Gwynn highlighted the importance of organisations that operate in Welsh, and serve the community through the medium of Welsh, in ensuring that young Welsh speakers were employed in their local areas.
"In Ceredigion the activities of young farmers' clubs and the Urdd are so much fun for young Welsh speakers who go to university and then return home because they still feel part of the community and still belong to the social network.
"We must acknowledge the fact that there are changing language patterns out there but, even though the number of three to 15-year-old children has fallen within the county of Ceredigion by 1,000, the percentage of those speaking Welsh has increased from 78 per cent to 82 per cent."
Following Cllr ap Gwynn’s presentation a lively discussion followed on how farmers could integrate more Welsh into their own businesses, what services were available to help them achieve this and the policies schools should adopt to keep the language thriving.
During the meeting delegates re-elected the committee chairman, Carmarthenshire county councillor Mansel Charles, and vice chairman, Betws y Coed farmer Eryl Hughes.