The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society encourages members to embrace change

21 June 2016

“As a member-led organisation, the society always places members’ views at the top of the agenda.” said Mr John T Davies in his address to members at the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society on 17th June.

Hosted by this year’s Feature County of Meirionnydd at the historic Rhiwlas Estate, by kind permission of the Price Family, the 2016 AGM looked back on another successful year, full of change, and forward to this year’s Royal Welsh Show, only four weeks away.

As one of the most dedicated stalwarts of the society, it was one of the late Robin Price’s last wishes that the AGM still be held at the splendid and prestigious Rhiwlas Estate in the heart of Meirionnydd and the society are truly thankful to Diana, Richard and the rest of the Price family for allowing us to do so.

Members were reassured to hear that despite the current trading situation in our industry being difficult and the fact that there will be a re-cast in agriculture in the near future, that the society was embracing the changes and continuing to deliver improvements.

“There is a huge appetite to do more through our journey of change” remarked Mr Davies, “It is not always easy to accept change, but we’re going forward at a pace and I thank those who have led the process”.

The annual financial statement for the society presented to the members confirmed the significant commitment of the society to invest in site infrastructure and continue with the already successful efficiency plans. This sees over £600,000 being dedicated to capital improvements, ensuring the Royal Welsh Showground becomes one of the best connected rural events sites in Wales.

Once again the unwavering support and incredible fundraising efforts of our feature counties was recognised and praise was given to the incredible efforts of Gwent, the 2015 feature county, whose £215,000 will be used to deliver improvements to the stabling facilities on the showground following completion of ground works funded by the society.

Mr Richard Jones, the 2016 President, thanked the Meirionnydd team for their commitment, hard work and tremendous support, in particular during the Grassland Event held which was a resounding success.  “I am proud that over the years Meirionnydd has left its mark on the showground and the funds this year will go towards the much-needed water project” added Mr Jones. The water project will create a private water system for the showground, consisting of a borehole, storage and irrigation, to reduce the cost of mains water usage.

Mr Richard Jones, 2016 President, presents Mr David Lewis, Chair of Council, with a cheque for £50,000 at last week’s Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s AGM.

As officials looked back on the 2015 events, Mr Davies paid particular thanks to the ‘Royal Welsh Team’ and NFU Mutual for their actions and support during the Winter Fair: “The 26th Winter Fair had many highlights but we cannot escape the challenges of Monday night. I must pay tribute to the team – from estate staff, officials to officers of the society.

“Their professional response ensured that the good name of the society was maintained. I must also pay tribute to NFU Mutual. If it wasn’t for the Mutual standing by us, my story today would have been very different.”

Mr Harry Fetherstonhaugh, Honorary Show Director drew the meeting to a close by giving an outline of what is in store for the up-coming Royal Welsh Show. Being opened by the
Rt Hon. Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas AM and with strong livestock entries, sponsorship and tradestand numbers, 2016 looks set to be another fantastic event.

“Our philosophy puts Agriculture at the heart of the Show” stated Mr Fetherstonhaugh, “and the survey conducted last year highlighted that livestock continues to be the main attraction for visitors. This combined with our ambition to ensure our main ring entertains people from 8am to 8pm is the cornerstone of our success.”

The big attractions in the main ring this year will be the remarkable Ukrainian Cossacks, the noisy and exciting Big Pete and the Grim Reaper Monster Trucks, the spectacular Black Mountains Falconry, the ever-popular RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Hurricane and Spitfire Flypast and much, much more.

The Royal Welsh Show will take place at the showground in Llanelwedd on 18 - 21 July. For more information on the society or the show please visit www.rwas.wales