Honours for Welsh farming leaders

Four hardworking and deserving industry leaders have recently been given the honour of being made associates of the Royal Agricultural Societies for their contribution to the agricultural and rural industries in Wales.

After much deliberation from the Welsh National Panel and the National Moderators Panel for the Council of Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies, four of the applications for the award were deemed of a high enough standard to be granted the coveted title of associate.

Amongst the successful applicants was Mr Alun Bennett of Meifod, Powys with his submission of ‘To develop a business able to support the whole family’. Mr Bennett’s business comprises of an organic dairy herd, extremely successful registered Lleyn and Texel sheep flocks and free range laying hens which operates over three farms, with an additional rented 300 acres. Farming in partnership with his wife and parents, the farm also employs Mr Bennett’s two sons, four full-time and six part-time workers, all from the local area. With the addition of recent solar panels and farm boilers the business is maximising the potential for renewable energy. Mr Bennett’s aim is to build a business which is not over-reliant on Single Farm Payment which will stand his family in good stead for the future and be a sound platform from which to develop the business further.

Mr Richard Hugh Tudor of Llanerfyl, Welshpool, Powys was also successful with his submission of ‘Improving Suckler Efficiency at Llysun’. Llysun is a 700 acre upland farm with 1400 Mule and Texel cross ewes and a 140 Saler based suckler herd, utilising grass to its full potential. By travelling, working and studying abroad Mr Tudor has gained valuable experience in how to produce the very best from his land – knowledge which he has passed on to others with numerous talks to groups from across Wales and the UK.  With good grassland management and a continued focus on greater efficiencies Mr Tudor believes that beef and sheep farming has a hugely positive role to play in the future of Welsh uplands.

With his submission on ‘Facets of Agriculture’, Mr J Malcolm Thomas of Llangynog, Carmarthen was also awarded an associateship. Mr Thomas has worked in many high profile and influential roles for the Welsh Office, NFU Wales, NFU Cymru, JCP Solicitors and the RABI, amongst others. Mr Thomas has lent his knowledgeable expertise to almost every aspect of the agricultural industry in Wales. Originally a farmers son from Carmarthenshire, Mr Thomas was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2012 New Year Honours List for his services to agriculture.

Mr D T Cemaes Evans of Bwlch, Brecon, Powys was also successful with his submission of ‘Shoeing, Showing and Stewarding Welsh Ponies and Cobs’.  After completing his blacksmith apprenticeship Mr Evans had the privilege of shoeing his first Royal Welsh Champion, Llanarth Flying Comet in 1978. In 1981 Mr Evans become a self employed farrier, concentrating on Welsh Ponies and Cobs with customers travelling from as far as Yorkshire and London to have their horses shod by him. Mr Evans has shod an unrivalled number of winning and champion horses and ponies and his reputation is second to none. Together with his wife, Mr Evans also owns and manages the successful and well respected Cathedine Stud, showing Welsh Cobs sections C & D.

“It is with great pleasure that we are able to award these four very worthy applicants with an associateship” says Mr Cyril Davies, Royal Welsh Agricultural Society representative on the CARAS council and a member of the National Moderator’s Panel.

“The standard of submissions was extremely high and Welsh agriculture is fortunate to have such knowledgeable and enthusiastic leaders at its forefront.”

All successful candidates will be officially presented with their awards at a reception held on the Tuesday evening of the 2015 Royal Welsh Show.