Farming honours for Welsh priest and community champion

14 February 2013

A priest who is also a farmer has been made an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies.

As a farmer, the Reverend Canon Eileen Davies runs a 300 acre dairy and sheep enterprise at Llanllwni, Pencader, Carmarthenshire, in partnership with her husband, Dyfrig.

As a priest, Canon Davies, who was ordained in 2004, is vicar of four rural parishes in Ceredigion and Advisor on Rural Matters for the Church in Wales.

A well-known figure among rural communities in West Wales she has received the award for her pastoral work concerning the welfare of farmers especially those working in isolation where loneliness and the accumulation of stress, financial problems, ill-health and paper overload can lead to worry and depression.

Canon Davies works closely with other organisations that help farmers in distress such as the Farm Crisis Network, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute, the farming unions and the YFC. She is also involved with the Church in Wales Rural Issues Hub run in conjunction with the Welsh Government and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.

In 2007 she set up a register of names of people who are ready at short notice to offer emergency cover on the farm where help is urgently needed through illness or bereavement. At present 40 people are on the register.

The award of Associateship of the Royal Agricultural Societies has also been made to E. Hedd Pugh, of Dinas Mawddwy, Machynlleth, Powys, for his contribution to the community.

Mr Pugh’s family farm extends to over 1600 acres running up to 2800 feet above sea level. Only 100 acres are in fields, however, with the remainder steep mountainsides, a challenging environment where improved areas are fertilised annually by helicopter.

The farm is an important access point to the summit of Aran Fawddwy in Snowdonia and recently a car park was opened on the land for the benefit of tourists and walkers.

Mr Pugh is involved in 24 different bodies concerned with farming, the environment, access, education and other interests and at last year’s Royal Welsh show he received the NFU Cymru/NatWest award of Community Champion.