Proactive Brecknock farmer wins the prestigious John Gittins Memorial Award

14 November 2017

One of the most prestigious prizes in Welsh agriculture, the John Gittins Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the Welsh sheep industry, has been won this year by Mr Richard Roderick from Scethrog, Brecon, Powys.

Mr Roderick and his family farm a mixed farm of 650 acres with sheep (1100 ewes and 260 replacement ewe lambs), beef and arable in the Brecon Beacons.

The flocks breeding cycle begins in September with the ewes scanned in early December, housed and sheared prior to Christmas. The system, developed for winter housing of the ewes, is aimed at minimum labour and feeding cost.

High quality silage is made in early June each year and clamped in two pits, with four faces, each one capable of feeding 250 ewes. On housing, the ewes self-feed from each face and the feeding barriers are moved on by 10 cms per day, allowing one person to feed 1,000 ewes in 20 minutes, without the use of any machinery. 

Gwynne Davies, representing the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, Kevin Parry, from the Welsh Mule Sheepbreeders Association and Llew Thomas, from the National Sheep Association Wales once again made up the panel of judges for the award.

The judges remarked that the quality of all the candidates was, as always, very impressive and the task of selecting an overall winner was an interesting challenge. “Having interviewed the shortlisted candidates we collectively agreed that the winner this year should be Mr Roderick for his innovative ways of promoting Welsh Lamb and for his contribution to the sheep industry.”

“As a well-respected and knowledgeable farmer, Mr Roderick shares his expertise on his production system as a mentor for the Welsh Government YESS Scheme and Farming Connect. 

“The farm also welcomes primary school children to the farm each year, to learn how lamb is produced from the farm to plate and the next generation of young farmers from local high schools visit the farm once a week to carry out the practical side of their BTEC Level 2 Diploma.

“Along with promoting farming to the school children, Mr Roderick impressed us by regularly hosting different events and making the most of every opportunity to positively promote the farms produce and the role of sheep farming in keeping the beautiful Welsh landscape.” added the judges.

Mr Roderick has previously won a number of high profile awards and in 2015 was awarded Farmers Weekly Sheep Farmer of the Year.

He will be presented with the award on Monday 27 November at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair.