Excitement builds as candidates wait to hear who will be presented with the 2016 Sir Bryner Jones Memorial Award

21 June 2016

As the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s flagship accolade, the Sir Bryner Jones Memorial Award is hotly contested year after year.

Unlike previous years, the winner of this year’s coveted award will be kept under wraps until the Royal Welsh Show, where the shortlisted candidates and their families will attend the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society award presentations on the first day of the show to hear the winner announced for the first time.

Sir Bryner Jones helped shape the direction of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society for 50 years, was Agricultural Commissioner for Wales and subsequently became Welsh Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture. He was President of the Royal Welsh in 1954, the society’s golden jubilee year.

Since 1957 the award has been made annually to someone from a different branch of the farming industry who has reached the highest level of achievement in the chosen sector. This year the judges were looking for an individual who has consistently shown outstanding achievement in Grassland Management and has served as an inspiration to fellow farmers, and the younger generation.

With the importance of grassland in the Welsh agricultural economy, this year’s candidates for the award were of an exceptionally high standard. Over the years many successful farmers in Wales have been recognised for their grassland expertise as a result of various competitions, not least the annual Grassland Management Competition running each year since 1971 and the Silage Competition running since 1979, both jointly organised by the RWAS and the Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies.  

“For this award however, we were not only looking for consistent achievement in grassland management but also for the person who been able to share their expertise and inspire fellow farmers, researchers and the younger generation, with the result that they have helped to improve the efficiency of grassland farming over the years.” said the judges, Mr Cyril Davies FRAgS and Mr Dafydd Jones ARAgS.

“We had nominations from every county in Wales and the standard was extremely high. Most would be fully worthy of the this coveted award, as a result of their extraordinary achievements in grassland related activities over the years, and all candidates have inspired others through various avenues.

“However, at the final judging stage three came to the forefront having won Welsh and UK competitions on more than one occasion and opened up their farms to inspire fellow farmers over a period of many decades.” added the very impressed judges.

In alphabetical order, the three shortlisted candidates are:

Mr Arthur Owen ARAgS, Bodysgaw Isa, Llannefydd, Denbigh
Arthur is a dairy farmer milking 350 cows on his 285-acre farm. He has developed a strong business based on maximising production from grass with a tight 10-week calving period from September to mid November. Cows are turned out to grass from early February depending on weather conditions, and concentrate costs are kept to the minimum. In 2007 he won both the Wales and UK grassland Farming Competitions. Arthur has held numerous open days on his farm for school children, grassland societies and others and has been active in assisting YFC and other groups.  

Mr Gerwyn Owen FRAgS, Pantygwiail Farm, Dihewyd, Lampeter, Ceredigion
Gerwyn farms a 230-acre dairy farm in the heart of Ceredigion in partnership with his wife Glenys and his son and daughter in law. They have a milking herd of 130 cows plus followers and there is a meticulous emphasis on producing and utilising grass for economic milk production. Gerwyn’s family won the very first Grassland Competition run by the RWAS and Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies in 1971 and subsequently has won the Wales and UK BGS National silage Competition in 1999 and was a finalist in the UK BGS Grassland Farming Competition in 2013. Their visitor’s book is testimony to the hundreds who have been to the farm in that time including local school children, YFC members, agricultural students, national and international visitors as well as the media.

Mr Tom Tudor MBE FRAgS, Llysun, Llanerfyl, Welshpool, Powys
Tom’s farm is regarded as an excellent example of the development of efficient grassland management in the upland areas. He won the Wales Grassland Competition in 1978, the Wales Silage Competition on three occasions and the UK BGS National Silage Competition in 1983 and 1995. Farmers and researchers from all over the world have visited the farm over the years to learn of his exceptional grassland and animal husbandry skills. In addition to the grassland competitions Tom has won very many other awards during his lifetime, including honours recognition and he has shared his knowledge very widely through serving on many national committees including the Governing Body of the Grassland Research Institute at Hurley, amongst others.  

The winner will be announced at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society award presentations on the first day of the show, Monday 18 July 2016, at 2.15pm.