The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society has played a leading role in the development of agriculture and the rural economy in Wales for over a century, since its formation in 1904.
Today our work includes providing support for business, social welfare and education in rural communities, and the organisation and staging of our ever-popular society events; the Smallholding and Countryside Festival, the Royal Welsh Show and the Winter Fair.
Luned Jones, a final year BSc (Hons) Bioveterinary Science student from Llanwnnen in West Wales, was chosen as this year’s recipient of the award.
She said: “I feel extremely honoured and privileged to have been chosen as the winner of the Harper Cymry/Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Student of the year 2021. “I am humbled that my achievements to date have been recognised in this way and I couldn’t think of a better ending to my five years at Harper Adams.”
The Harper Cymry/Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Student of the Year award has been running for more than two decades, after being established in 1999 by the late Bill Ratcliffe, a Harper Adams Fellow and founder of the Harper Cymry alumni association.
The award is open to final year undergraduates who have lived in Wales for at least the past five years, who have contributed to the Harper Cymru student society and also to the broader Harper Adams University student community – and who are deemed a promising future ambassador for Harper Adams University.
The recipient is also eligible for Future Famers of Wales membership, joining an elite club of proven, practical young famers whose discussions and views help to shape the future of farming in Wales.
This year’s Student of the Year award is the second time Luned’s achievements have been marked by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society – as her family’s breeding of the Welsh Winter Fair supreme champion, back in 2015, set her on the path to her current degree – the first step towards a career as an livestock geneticist.
She added: “I am a keen livestock breeder and enjoy taking part in various competitions and events such as the Welsh Winter Fair. In 2015, we as a family were fortunate enough to breed the Welsh Winter Fair supreme champion, which is by far one of my proudest and fondest achievements.
“I would consider this moment as the turning point in my career aspirations, and such success, coupled with my farming upbringing, is where my interest in genetics and breeding stems from.
“I chose to study BSc Bioveterinary Science as I have had my focus from day one on working within the scientific side of the rural sector, giving me the opportunity to give back to the sector which plays a fundamental part in my day-to-day life.”
Luned and her sister are the ninth generation of farmers on her family’s beef and sheep farm, and she has recently established a herd of Limousin cattle on the site.
She now hopes to combine her work on the farm with postgraduate study in genetics – and to apply that knowledge to help improve farm profitability, as well as to add to the skills she has learnt over the past five years,
She added: “During my time at Harper Adams I have grasped every arising opportunity, obtaining numerous certificates including first aid, tractor driving, and basic business management, and recently completed my AMTRA qualification. “I have gained invaluable opportunities – such as the year I spent in New Zealand on placement – as well as establishing vital industry connections. I have also made lifelong friends along the way of which I will forever be grateful to Harper for.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Development Trust for all their hard work and dedication in encouraging students like myself to apply for scholarships. Their guidance has undoubtedly helped me gain a number of scholarships throughout my time at Harper.”
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society is proud to support this Award which recognises the outstanding potential of the next generation.