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.
I was born in Abergele in 1954. After school I worked in a warehouse in Rome for 4 months, a fishing tackle factory in Sheffield for 6 months, and on a cattle ranch in Alberta, Canada for a year before studying at Cirencester Agricultural College for a year. It was while I was at Cirencester that I started, with a friend, a game dealing business which I was involved with for 3 years before moving to Coed Coch in 1978.
I started farming from scratch at Coed Coch in 1978 with sheep to start, adding single sucklers a couple of years later and continued as a family partnership until September 2016. Some time before this date I realised that for Coed Coch to be financially successful, after the demise of the Single Farm Payment a radical new approach was required and I was already in my 60’s. I decided that new young blood was needed to help spearhead the future.
In October 2016 I started a new joint venture with Rhys Williams and Emyr Jones farming Romney sheep (with increased numbers on the same holding) using the New Zealand system of paddock grazing with large mobs. The system is working well (it has been a sharp learning curve) with pasture renewal top of the mist at the moment. I have found working with Rhys and Emyr invigorating, fascinating and very rewarding and the old adage ‘you are never too old to learn’ is certainly true in my case!
I have been a Steward at the Royal Welsh since 1977 when I started on the livestock gate, after a few years I became the Security Steward where I remained until I became Assistant Hon Director Administration in the late 80’s. In 1989 I became Deputy Show Director and took over as Hon Show Director in 1994, a role I have thoroughly enjoyed. The whole ethos of the Royal Welsh is that it’s a team effort and although I have sat on the Board for over 30 years, I feel privileged to have been involved in the Show for over 40 years and hugely honoured to have been elected President Elect for Clwyd’s Year in 2020.
As someone who annually attends and supports the Royal Welsh Show, and other Royal Welsh Agricultural Society events and is familiar with the excellent work of the Clwyd Advisory Committee I feel honoured to have been selected as the 2020 RWAS Ambassador. I have attended the Royal Welsh Show with my parents, Clwyd and Sian and sister Mari, since a very young age, spending the week in a caravan on the Green with family and friends. Anyone who knows me will tell you that this week is the highlight of my year!
Home will always be Plas Bennett, Efenechtyd, Ruthin and I was educated at Ysgol Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd and Ysgol Brynhyfryd in Ruthin, before graduating in Geography at Aberystwyth University. Career wise, after 12 months in a planning department I had a complete change of heart and have developed a career in communications and marketing. I work for the Welsh Government as an International Marketing Manager.
I am also actively involved on our beef and sheep farm and take a keen interest in agriculture and its developments. We are a family farm in the true sense of the word sharing responsibilities between us and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to share my evenings and weekends with Mum and Dad, working as a team.
Volunteering has always been part of my life and I have been involved with the charity Cam wrth Gam, a charity which takes young people from North Wales to Africa to do practical work such as build classrooms, set up boreholes and other maintenance work in orphanages and schools. For the past 10 years I have also volunteered for Local Authorities Youth Justice Services, representing the community on Referral Order Panels across North Wales, where I meet with the young offenders, victims, police etc to agree a contract of activities for them during the duration of their Referral Order.
Between working full time, working on the farm and volunteering there’s not a lot of spare time, but I enjoy a bit of shooting, as many holidays as I can fit in from skiing to sun holidays, from a caravan at the Eisteddfod to city breaks. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family- out and about on a nice long walk and of course eating and drinking!
Lowri keeps us up-to-date with all the feature county activities in her regular blog.