Next month’s Royal Welsh Show will be the venue for the final of one of Wales’ most prestigious farming titles – NFU Cymru / Principality Building Society Wales Woman Farmer of the Year.Now in its 18th year, the competition aims to celebrate the often forgotten contribution that women make to Welsh farming. This year those shortlisted are from Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. They are:
Eleri Lloyd, Ffynonlwyd Farm, Llangynin, St Clears, Carmarthenshire. Eleri and her husband Haydn run a dairy farm with 300 cows, 200 followers and have adapted the New Zealand type system. They have also developed their own water engineering business which now employs 10 people, a B&B and a self-catering cottage. In her application Eleri said, “Women today are far more involved with the decision-making than their mother’s generation. They play a catalytic role towards achievement of a successful business.”Maureen Hedley, an assistant herdswoman for a 200 cow dairy herd in Pembrokeshire, whilst also travelling to Aberystwyth University to complete a degree in Agriculture. On farm Maureen is in charge of the health and wellbeing as well as the daily milking of the pedigree Holstein cows, the rearing and replacement of heifers and the rearing of the beef calves. Whilst studying at Gelli Aur she won student of the year – twice. Her current employer has been able to step back and enjoy retirement as a result of her dedication, love of cattle and knowledge. Meinir Evans, Cwmfran Fawr, Cil-y-cwm, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire. Meinir’s application form explains her dedication, ability, strength and knowledge to run the farm day to day. Over the years she has turned her hand to anything: shearing, sheep dipping, silage harvesting, hedge laying, and breaking in horses. Meinir is best known for her success in shearing competitions, recently taking first place, with Aled Jones, in the Team World Woolhandling final, beating New Zealand (the first time they had not won in nine years).NFU Cymru Deputy President, John Davies said, “When shortlisting we, as judges, looked for women who demonstrated the part they play in making the farm a successful economic unit, their contribution to improving the role of women in farming and their involvement in local community life and other organisations.”Pat Ashman, Sponsorship and Events Manager, Principality Building Society said, “It’s a real pleasure to be involved with the judging of such an exciting competition as Wales Woman Farmer of the Year. It is important that we highlight the contribution of women in farming which is largely dominated by men. More and more women take the step to start their own business and no matter what the industry, it is important to recognise the exceptional work they are doing. This competition helps to challenge the notion that the farming industry is a man’s world.”The winner will receive £500 and an engraved Welsh crystal fruit bowl, while the runners-up will receive £100 each. The judges will carry out on-farm interviews with the shortlisted candidates before announcing the winner on the Thursday of this year’s Royal Welsh Show.The Award has moved to the Royal Welsh Show this year to celebrate its coming of age. As part of the Awards ceremony on the Thursday of the show NFU Cymru would like to invite all past Award winners to attend and help celebrate the history of the Award.