An animal management student at Pencoed College, near Bridgend, has won the Farmers' Union of Wales Glamorgan county branch Walter Rowlands Memorial Award.
Harley-Blue Clarke-Stead (correct spelling) of Graig-yr-Hufen Farm, Senghenydd, Caerphilly, received the accolade for her excellent work as an agricultural student.
The award consists of a £200 grant to be used towards educational studies and was devised in memory of Walter Rowlands to recognise his hard work during his 29 years' employment with the FUW as a county secretary.
Harley-Blue lives on her family's farm which runs a wide range of livestock which she also helps to manage. She said: "I adore working with animals and wish to pursue a career working in this field.
"As a family we produce our own meat and sausages. We then sell it in the local butchers in Gelligaer and have recently invested in 37 Welsh weaners.
"Throughout the year we slaughter lambs and pigs which are also supplied to local butchers within a 10-mile radius of the farm.
"We use the local slaughterhouse which is five miles away and this cuts down on food miles and fuel
costs. This has less impact on the carbon footprint and keeps the cost of production low. It also helps the local businesses to stay open."
During her first year at Pencoed College Harley-Blue did voluntary work teaching children with disabilities to ride horses. "College has given me many options to further my education which will hopefully enable me to pursue a successful career within the agricultural industry," she added.
FUW Glamorgan members, in consultation with members of Mr Rowlands's family, felt Harley-Blue’s detailed and outstanding application thoroughly deserved the award.
FUW vice president Lorraine Howells, who presented the award to Harley-Blue along with Mrs Nesta Rowlands and her son Greg Rowlands, said: “The FUW are extremely keen to support budding young farmers through this award and as Harley-Blue is involved in working on the family farm, as well as continuing her studies in Pencoed College, she is the perfect candidate.”
Fellow FUW vice president Brian Walters said: “Students like Harley-Blue are the future of Welsh farming especially as she is involved in all aspects, from producing their own meat on the farm to volunteering in the local agricultural shop, where the produce is sold, as well as gaining experience in the local veterinary surgery.
"Harley-Blue is an ambitious and capable student and we wish her all the best with her future studies.”
The presentation evening was sponsored by EON and their representative David Foode made an informative and interesting presentation to members about cost-cutting methods on their electricity bills as well as ideas for diversification such as renewable energy options for farmers to consider.