Honours for Welsh farming leaders
26 July 2017
A number of hardworking and deserving industry leaders have again been honoured by the Council of Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies for their contribution to the agricultural and rural industries in Wales.
The Welsh National Panel and the National Moderators Panel for the Council of Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies scrupulously consider many applications made each year, the following applicants, who were deemed of a high enough standard to be granted the coveted title of either fellow or associate, have been officially presented with their awards at a reception held on the Tuesday (25 July) evening of the 2017 Royal Welsh Show.
In all cases the outstanding achievements of candidates are expected to be demonstrably above the general level of other people working in the same fields, whether in farming, research, public work or other activities.
Mr David Philip Jones of Cynwyl-Elfed, Carmarthen was made an Associate in January 2017 for his submission ‘Using new technology to improve suckler cow efficiency’.
David took over the running of the 172 hectare farm from his parents. The family farm has been run as an organic unit for over 10 years and joined the Glastir environmental scheme in 2013. The aim of the farm is to run a simple resilient and efficient suckler production system. With a herd number of 90 cows and 35 in calf heifers, mostly Limousin crosses, the product from the herd is the sale of 9-12 month old, high growth EBV, forage reared, healthy calves, sold to repeat buyers where they go on and improve further.
In 2013 David was named the Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year and continues to share his knowledge with fellow farmers as a HCC and Farming Connect demonstration farm.
Mr James T Raw of Cwmystwyth, Aberystwyth was made an Associate in March 2017 for his submission ‘Sustainability of the Hill farm using natural resources including hydropower’.
James farms on a traditional hill farm set in the heart of the Cambrian Mountains, concentrating on sustainable long term systems and investments with a profitable enterprise for the next generation.
He has constructed one of the largest privately owned on-farm hydro schemes in Wales. Two 100kW systems have been constructed to embrace the farms natural topography and high rainfall. These produce 850,000kwh annually providing approximately 200 homes with power. In February 2016 the farm won the Most Carbon Neutral Farm across Britain in the Energy Now Awards. James has welcomed many visitors to the farm to discuss the development of hydro schemes and through Farming Connect undertook a Masters module in Hydropower at the Centre of Alternative Farming.
Mrs Eirwen Williams of Langwyryfon, Aberystwyth was made an Associate in March 2017 for her submission ‘Knowledge Exchange and Personal Development’.
Eirwen is Head of Rural Programmes at Menter a Busnes, a company that has been responsible for developing business strategies to help small and medium sized Welsh businesses for some 27 years.
Eirwen led the successful tender to deliver the Farming Connect Knowledge Transfer and Advisory Service, a high profile programme aiming to provide Welsh land-based industries with advice and training on the latest thinking in best practice and innovation. The aim of the programme is to ensure information is available through a combination of delivery mechanisms, from discussion groups, workshops and clinics to a network of demonstration sites and on farm events. One example being the Agri Academy which was established in 2012.
Mrs Susan Jones of Star, Anglesey was made an Associate in May 2017 for her submission ‘Progressive Development at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show’.
Susan is a farmer’s daughter and past Young Farmer from Anglesey and has always been passionate about the land and farming in Wales. Working with farmers and the rural community, involving a career in banking and now in the tractor and machinery business serving North Wales farmers. Susan has been very involved with the progressive development of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society for more than 18 years; working to help take the society from strength to strength during difficult economic and changing social times.
Susan was appointed in 2009 as Assistant Honorary Director for Press and Publicity and is responsible for promoting and communication of the society events to a wide and varied audience at home and abroad.
Mr D Selwyn Evans of Llanddarog, Carmarthen was made an Associate in May 2017 for his submission ‘Farming, the Future of Rural Communities & the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’.
Selwyn has been involved in rural affairs and agriculture all his life, starting out with the local Young Farmers’ Club and County YFC.
He was appointed Breeding Consultant for Cattle Breeding Service (Premier Breeders) covering the whole of the country with special responsibility for Wales. On returning to the family farm, Selwyn established a very successful farm tourism enterprise, consisting of the farmhouse bed and breakfast, holiday cottages and a small touring caravan site which won Best Tourism Business in Carmarthenshire in 2002. He also farms a small pedigree Limousin herd with the emphasis on Polled Black cattle and the flock of Texel sheep which has won both flock competitions and show classes.
Selwyn is the Cattle Ring Commentator at the Royal Welsh Show and at the Winter Fair and also a board member of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.
Mrs Eleri V Roberts of Rhydlydan, Conwy was made an Associate in October 2016 for her submission ‘My work with the YFC’.
Eleri is the county organiser for Clwyd YFC. Having started working for the federation in 2002, Eleri joined at a time when the rural community were struggling with the aftermath of Foot and Mouth and many YFC clubs had closed. Through her dedication and hard work, Eleri has been instrumental in reinvigorating the county’s clubs and increasing membership.
Eleri also sits on the council of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and stewards within the cattle section at the Royal Welsh Show. She also helps with the Flint and Denbigh Show and other local shows and community committees.
Mr Richard J Roderick of Scethrog, Brecon was made an Associate in October 2016 for his submission ‘Driving towards sustainable lamb production’.
Richard and his wife, Helen, have 1,000 ewes on a 650-acre mixed farm and are building a sheep business that will thrive without subsidy. They have focused on finishing lambs on home-grown forage and protein, while improving genetics and meeting market specification. The farm also supports 70 suckler cows and 55 acres of cereals and a successful holiday cottage.
Winner of the Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year award in 2015 along with Waitrose Lamb Producer of the Year, Richard also acts as a mentor to young entrants under the YESS scheme.
Richard is also actively involved with the Brecknock Agricultural Society and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.
Mr Stephen Hughson of Llysdinam, Powys was made an Associate in June 2017 for his submission ‘Leadership in Agricultrue’.
Despite a varied career, Steve has maintained a very keen interest in the family farm and rural affairs. He brings a clear focus on leadership to his new role at the Royal Welsh which he describes as a ‘perfect combination’ of his farming background, with his extensive leadership and command experience.
Steve has led significant change since taking up his role at the society, but prides himself on achieving the fine balance between embracing new technologies and delivering real improvement, with a healthy respect for strong traditions.
Steve has recently been appointed by Welsh Government to serve on the Agriculture Advisory Panel for Wales.
Associates are considered for advancement to fellowship only if a continuing significant contribution to agriculture or related industry during their period of associateship can be demonstrated. Advancement is not automatic and has to be earned by further outstanding service to the industry.
The following associates have been awarded fellowships:
Mr Thomas Evans of Beulah, Llanwrtyd Wells became an Associate in May 2011 for his submission ‘Farming & Country Skills’.
Tom is not only a skilled farmer with livestock and grassland husbandry but is also well known for his hedging, fencing and shearing skills. He has been very involved with the society’s Sheep Shearing Committee for over 20 years and has been a long standing member of the commentary team at the Royal Welsh Show.
Tom is very involved in his local community, particularly Beulah Show. He is currently the Chairman of the Welsh Ploughing Association and was Chairman of this year’s All Wales Ploughing & Hedging Championships. Tom is also a long standing member of Builth Ploughing & Hedging Society.
Mr Jamie Adams of Haverfordwest became an Associate in July 2011 for his submission ‘Community & Opportunity’.
Jamie continues to be very actively involved in the community and it is felt that he continues to make an outstanding contribution to agriculture. He has a proven track record in everything with which he has been involved and is innovative and forward thinking.
It is felt that he has undoubtedly played, over recent years, a very major part in the Local Government activities for Pembrokeshire. He has proved himself a very good leader and much respected by fellow Councillors and the public.
Mr John R Fletcher of the Gower, Swansea was awarded Associateship in 1997 for his submission ‘Grassland Production – My Way of Life’.
John, whilst retaining ownership of his farm, has since his associateship developed a new, very successful venture promoting and educating people about the Shire Horse.
The business called Gentle Giants essentially promotes the Shire Horse breed through John’s involvement in pageants and use of the animals and working paraphernalia on film sets. John has also become a very successful horse ploughman becoming champion ploughman of Wales on no less than four occasions.
John has also taken the time to train his daughter to ride heavy horses where she won many awards including qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show.
Mr Robert Stevenson of Raglan, Monmouthshire became an Associate in September 2011 for his submission ‘Veterinary Skills & Techniques for the farming community’.
Since being made an Associate Robert has reduced his commitments as a practicing vet and is now a consultant. Robert is also Chairman of AMTRA Board and Council, a City & Guilds Assessor, Technical Verifier and Veterinary Consultant and is an advisor to ‘The Archers’ programme.
Robert has also been President of the British Veterinary Association from 2012-2014, Veterinary Consultant to the British Pig Association from 2011-2016, a veterinary member for Farming Connect Strategic Advisory Board from 2011-2016, Professional Advisor to Harper Adams University from 2011-2014, a member of UK Pig Health & Welfare Council from 2013-2016 and European Councillor for the World Veterinary Association from 2011-2016.
Mr Gethin W T Havard of Sennybridge, Brecon became an Associate in November 2011 for his submission ‘Farming Livestock and Promoting Related Products’.
From a very young age Gethin’s involvement with YFC provided him with confidence through public speaking, debating, drama and other activities. He continues to be active at club and county level of YFC.
Gethin is a highly-respected livestock farmer and is involved with NFU campaign for stricter TB control measures and to improve the understanding of young people of food production.
Gethin has been Chairman of Brecknock Hill Cheviot Society, where he developed a branded market for the society through supplying lambs to Marks and Spencers, and was Chairman of Brecon & Radnor Suckler Calf Rearing Association for some 17 years. He has represented the British Wool Marketing Board for South Wales.
Mr T Gwyn Anthony of Bridgend became an Associate in January 2012 for his submission ‘Lifetime of Changes in Farming’.
Gwyn was awarded an MBE for services to agriculture over twenty years ago and has continued to be a leading light in this discipline. Under his management, the farm with a highly successful dairy herd and flock of sheep, has been a beacon to farmers locally and further afield.
Gwyn has continued his lifelong links with the YFC movement, a regular attendee at County Rally using the farm’s cattle and sheep for stock judging competitions.
Mr John R Owen of Conwy became an Associate in November 2011 for his submission ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’.
John is Chair of the NFU Cymru Less Favoured Area and is a member of the NFU Cymru Council and also represents his county of Mid Gwynedd. He has been a past county chair and chair of trustees of NFU county branches. He also carries out sterling work during the Royal Welsh Show as the Show President’s escort.
John and his family have in the last few years bred a very successful flock of Beltex sheep and have been prize winners at local and national shows. He is in much demand as a judge and has hosted several visits to his farm not only to inspect his hill flock but also his now noted Beltex flock. Government Ministers have also visited his farm to witness at first hand the challenges which hill farmers face and he is participating in the ‘Glastir Scheme’ to show the benefits of farming in an environmentally sensitive area.
“As always, the standard of submissions was extremely high and CARAS Wales and the National Moderator’s Panels are pleased to acknowledge how fortunate the Welsh agricultural industry is to have such influential and enthusiastic leaders.” says Mr Cyril Davies, Royal Welsh Agricultural Society representative on the CARAS council and a member of the National Moderator’s Panel.
“We are always honoured to bestow such worthy applicants with CARAS awards and very much hope that they enjoyed the awards ceremony and reception held yesterday (Tuesday 25 July) at the Royal Welsh Show.”