You can keep up to date with the Carmarthenshire 2017 Feature County fundraising plans on their Facebook and Twitter pages:
D Brian Jones MBE FRAgS
For a passionate Welshman, born and brought up in the agricultural industry and having taken an active role in the Young Farmers movement, being elected President of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society is the greatest honour that I could have been awarded. I would like to thank the good people of Carmarthenshire for the privilege of being President in our year as the Feature County in 2017. I assure you that I will do everything to repay the faith you have shown in me.
Diversifying from dairy farming and rearing table chickens to establishing a food service business, distributing a wide range of food products to caterers and businesses across Wales and the fringes of England, has given me a very different perspective on the agricultural industry.
Farming is the cornerstone of the £6.1 billion Welsh food and drink supply chain and agriculture has been at the heart of Welsh life for centuries and contributes so much to the rural economy, both directly and indirectly. A thriving agricultural industry is paramount to the rural economy and way of life. There are 58,000 people employed, either full or part time, on Welsh farms.
Two out of five rural businesses depend entirely on agriculture and the future survival of our rural economies is dependent on being able to retain our young people in the countryside. To do that there must be employment, as an economically viable industry provides opportunities, which in turn ‘breathes life’ and vibrancy into our rural communities. Currently 222,400 people are employed within the Welsh food and drink supply chain, being the biggest employer in Wales.
The farmer is the custodian of the countryside, whose care and labours has helped create a beautiful canvas that we can all enjoy. Farmers manage more than 80% of the land area of Wales. The Welsh countryside, managed by farmers, provides the backdrop for the tourism industry worth more than £2.5 billion.
Rural life has always been challenging and agriculture subject to the vagaries of government policy, rules, regulations and those of supply and demand. These regulations have often caused consternation and frustration.
They have, however, ensured that the food we produce is of the highest standard both in terms of welfare and traceability. I believe that this will be advantageous to us in the challenging ‘new world’ we face. The agriculture industry is facing its biggest challenge in a generation as a result of ‘Brexit’ and significant change is inevitable.
Whilst I am certain that there will be significant challenges and problems to overcome, there will also be opportunities which we must be ready to seize. This requires wisdom and courage from our industry leaders and our governments. With the predicted 35% increase in the world’s population to 9.6 billion by 2050, the challenge of producing enough food for the peoples of the world provides an opportunity for new markets.
I believe that the Royal Welsh Show has its part to play and, as a national and indeed international stage, the Show will be central to promoting and marketing our produce and industry. It is more important than ever that we go out to the world to promote our food and produce, with no better way than using the Royal Welsh Show as a shop window.
The Show established itself as a predominantly agricultural event for the farming industry. It has over the years evolved to reflect the changing face of agriculture and society. In so doing it has become an integral part of every Welsh person’s life, bringing together all of Wales in a truly unique and unifying way.
It strengthens our cultural heritage and galvanises the pride we have in our small nation, so that today the Show has become an annual pilgrimage for thousands of all ages. Such is the contribution the event makes to our nation.
The equine competitions are an increasingly popular and important aspect of the Show and without doubt the highlight is the Welsh Cob Championship held on the now sacred Wednesday afternoon. Is there any other competition able to generate such an electrifying atmosphere in front of a packed arena with people from all over the world watching this unique spectacle?
The funds raised by Carmarthenshire will be used to provide new and improved stabling for the equine section. I would like to thank the fabulous Carmarthenshire Team consisting of seven county regions, the YFC, Ladies Committee, Carmarthenshire County Council and various societies and individuals for their tireless dedication and work in leading and co-ordinating the fundraising throughout the County. Their efforts have brought communities together, rekindled friendships and brought entertainment and joy to people.
A new event this year is the inaugural ‘Muck and Soil’, being held by kind permission of Gelli Aur College on 24th August. The aim is to hold this event biennially and I hope that Pembrokeshire will pick up the mantle in its year as Host County in 2019. So please come along and support us.
I hope that you will all be able to visit the Show this summer and not forgetting the Spring Fair beforehand and the Winter Fair later in the year. I would finally like to thank Chief Executive Steve Hughson and his very able ‘second in command’ Aled Jones and all the staff for their excellent work in running all that is associated with the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.
Georgina Cornock-EvansLady Ambassador
It’s an honour and privilege to have been selected as the 2017 Royal Welsh Lady Ambassador. I’ve dreamt of this since I was a child and am delighted that it also now gives me the chance to represent Carmarthenshire during its Feature Year.
A large part of the role of Lady Ambassador is to support the Feature County Advisory Committee in their fundraising effort. My 25 years’ experience of playing the harp has certainly been put to excellent use during my term of office and I have been playing in fundraising concerts, fashion shows and other events.
I regularly play the harp at weddings and local events and teaching the harp and the piano is also a passion. I’m a school governor at Cwmann’s Ysgol Carreg Hirfaen, where my two children are pupils.
I moved to Harford in 2004 and I worked for Ceredigion County Council’s Planning Department, before setting up a machinery business with my husband. The YFC movement is close to my heart and has been since I first joined in 1993.
I have recently had to take a step back in my role as club leader with Dyffryn Cothi YFC, due to my many other commitments. I still gladly help out whenever the need arises.
My husband, Arwel, and I own and run an agricultural dealership - repairing and selling agricultural machinery. We set up Arwel’s Agri Services Ltd in 2008 and the company has grown with the help and support of farmers throughout West Wales.
Our company is currently the main dealer for McCormick Tractors, Storth Machinery and Vicon. We and these associated companies have built up a close connection with Royal Welsh Agricultural Society events. Arwel’s Agri Services Ltd has supported me from the beginning in helping to raise funds for the Society, as well as making sure that the RWAS goes from strength to strength in these uncertain times.
My role as Lady Ambassador is to promote and raise the profile of the Society, as well as to raise funds to enhance the Showground facilities, with this year’s funds earmarked for improvements to the Equine Centre. Accordingly, I have commissioned a statue of a horse’s head for the Equine Centre, jointly sponsored by me and Arwel’s Agri Services Ltd and created by JR Fabrications, a Carmarthenshire company.
Finally I’d like to thank my family, relatives and friends, and especially my husband, Arwel, and our two children, Trystan and Lynwen Delun Mair, for their support and encouragement. I’m also grateful to the staff at the RWAS and to the county officials and members in Carmarthenshire, in particular to Brian Jones, the 2017 Society President. I wish Brian and his wife, Helen, all the very best.
2017 is turning out to be a very busy year in my calendar with hardly a day that is not blocked out. In addition to touring the country with my popular Quack Pack sheepdog demonstration I am heavily involved with the fund-raising for what is hoped will be another successful year for the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society supported by my own county of Carmarthenshire as the featured county.
I have been a member of the Carmarthenshire RWAS Committee for over 12 years, but this year carry the additional responsibilities of Vice Chairman and Chairman of my own designated Llanddarog and Llanarthney fund-raising area.
At its heart is Middleton Hall, now home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, and it was on the family dairy and sheep farm on the Middleton Estate that I was born. Glenda and I, along with our son Iestyn still live within a stone throw of the Garden on our smallholding at Rhos yr Hafod, Llanarthne.
It was from the family farm that at a very young age that, with my parents, I attended my very first Royal Welsh Show. My primary interest then as now, was the sheepdog trialling, and since competing at my very first trial at nine years of age, hardly a day has gone by without there being a sheepdog at my side.
Changes within the farming industry resulted in a change of direction some eight years ago when I relinquished my post of Commercial Manager at the Carmarthen and Pumsaint Farmers co-operative where I had been employed for twenty-eight years. Since then I, along with my brother in law Wynne have started a supply business ‘Hafod Farm Supplies’ from my home. I have also found time to expand my Quack Pack enterprise performing at regional and national shows, as well as private events and providing customized team building programmes for a range of corporate clients.
For the last twenty years the popular Quack Pack demonstration has featured prominently in the calendar of main ring attractions at the Royal Welsh Show. I have been fortunate to have travelled the length and breadth of the UK with my Quack Pack and dogs. As a life member and trustee of the International Sheep Dog Society and past Welsh President of the Society, judging assignments have taken me all over the globe, but for one week in July, the world comes to Wales, and to Llanelwedd.
So as I look out from the main ring in 2017, I will also be wearing my ‘hat’ as a RWAS Council Member representing Carmarthenshire, and will do so with a great sense of achievement, and grateful thanks for all those who have supported the numerous local events throughout the county to ensure another successful year for the Society.
W.Roy Davies FRAgS
I was born on a hill farm near Newtown, but at the age of 10 the family moved to Tywyn, Merioneth when my parents purchased a dairy farm. After leaving Tywyn Grammar School I gained qualifications at Glynllifon Farm Institute and Seale Hayne Agricultural College Devon.
In 1966 I joined NAAS (now ADAS) in Cheshire before being transferred to the Caernarfon office on the culmination of two years. A period of five years was then spent as a District Agriculture Officer in the Bangor/Conwy area before packing my bags to Newtown. During my six years in the North West Area of Montgomeryshire I became founder Secretary of the Tir Glas Bro Dyfi Grassland Society before being promoted to Senior Agricultural Adviser for central Dyfed in 1978.
In 1985 I accepted an invitation to join Midland Bank, now HSBC, as Regional Agricultural Manager for South Wales, a position I held until my retirement in 2002. My involvement with the farming industry however has continued after retirement and looking back I wonder how I had time to go to work!
Having been a committee member of the Welsh Dairy Show from its inauguration in 1989 I was honoured with its Presidency for the 25th anniversary show in Oct 2014. For thirty years I have been a Member of Carmarthenshire Chamber of Agriculture, a body founded in 1853, and having been its Hon. Treasurer for the last fifteen years, was privileged to accept its Presidency in 2011-2012. In 2000 I was made a FRAgS in recognition of 35years of Advice to Welsh Farming.
It is a privilege to be Hon. Treasurer of Carmarthenshire RWAS Advisory Committee and to represent this year’s featured county on the RWAS Sponsorship Committee. For our Feature County appeal in 2017 Carmarthenshire did not set a target. It was agreed that we would raise as much as we could and in doing so we would ‘enjoy doing it’.
My wife Carol – a retired Occupational Therapist - and I have been married for close on fifty years. We have two sons Michael and Mathew and by now four grandsons. Having worked all over Wales during my career the Royal Welsh Show is a place for both Carol and myself to meet many old friends! And when the Show is over – time permitting – I hope to catch up with my hobbies of gardening and fishing, and maybe open the occasional bottle of good French wine!
Jonathan Hugh Davies MRICS FAAV FRAgS
I was brought up and raised at Parcnewydd a dairy farm in Llanwrda in the upper Towy Valley and educated in Ysgol Pantycelyn Llandovery. I went on to attend the Welsh Agricultural College Aberystwyth and Reading University before qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor and Fellow of Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.
My early career started with the Milk Marketing Board, Genus and Milk Marque in Carmarthen, Thames Ditton and Newcastle under Lyme between 1989 and 1996. Advising on milk quality and control of somatic cell counts as my first role before taking a management role within the Milk Quotas Department in Thames Ditton and Newcastle under Lyme. In 1997 I took a Regional Mangers role in South Wales & West with NMR plc before furthering my career and becoming an Executive Director in 2013. My role involves managing the sales and marketing function along with the delivering the milk recording operation through a team of regional managers and 400 self-employed milk recorders covering the UK and Northern Ireland. Travel is extensive with offices and laboratories in Chippenham, Stafford, Harrogate, Glasgow and Balliebourough (Ireland).
I was made an Associate of the Council for Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies (CARAS) in 2009 and advanced to Fellow in 2014.
Being away from home for much of my early career meant that my time in YFC was fairly limited, however I did take part in stock judging and amateur dramatics during my time at Llangadog YFC.
My association with the show has been since a very young age and I am a Life Governor of the Society since 2005. I have been a member of Carmarthenshire Advisory Committee since 2003 and Honorary Secretary since 2007. Dairy Cattle is a primary interest and I have been a Cattle Steward in the Holstein section since 1999.
In conjunction with my parents I run the Parcnewydd Herd of pedigree Hereford and Welsh Black cattle selling to a specialist local butcher. We run up to 150 head on the farm. All cattle are run on an extensive system and finished off grass where possible.
I have been married to Bethan Charles-Davies since 2000 and we have two teenage sons, William and Owain. The boys are very keen on sport and rugby especially and play for Llandeilo and Llandovery juniors. Owain is a keen footballer and part of the Swansea City Development squad.
Since 2015 I have been a Director and Governor of Llandovery College.Time for hobbies during the last 18 months has been fairly limited, however I try and make time to watch rugby at either Llandovery, Llandeilo or Llangadog depending on which team is playing at home of a weekend.
You can keep up to date with the Carmarthenshire 2017 Feature County fundraising plans on their Facebook and Twitter pages: