New FUW team at the helm

Following the election of Mr Glyn Roberts as president of the Farmers’ Union of Wales during the union’s annual general meeting on Monday (June 15), the rest of the influential finance and organisation committee members were revealed today.

Mr Roberts’s deputy will be Pembrokeshire beef and sheep farmer Brian Thomas, who is a past county chairman of the FUW in Pembrokeshire, and has previously sat on the FUW’s central tenant’s committee.

Brian was elected South Wales member of the central finance and organisation committee in 2011 and elected vice president of the FUW in 2013.

Speaking after his appointment, Brian Thomas said: “I would like to thank those who have voted for me to be the next deputy president of the union. It has been a pleasure to work alongside our former president Emyr Jones and I now look forward to working with our newly elected president Glyn Roberts.”

Mr Thomas runs a herd of pedigree beef shorthorn cattle and a sheep flock of 300 ewes as well as growing 80 acres of cereals on his 280-acre farm, Llwyncelyn Lan, Llanfyrnach.

During the 1996 BSE outbreak, Mr Thomas lead the campaign in South West Wales opposing the importation of inferior beef into Wales. In 1997 he led a group of 10 farmers to Tesco’s stand at the Royal Welsh Show to address them about the unfair way in which they were treating the industry.

Bovine TB is a subject which Brian is passionate about. When his herd went down with the disease in the late 1990’s he commented in interviews that the disease would be more of a problem than BSE would ever be if it was not tackled. Unfortunately, for many he has been proved right and currently he sits on the local working group for the Assembly’s Bovine TB Intensive Action Area in North Pembrokeshire, representing farmers in the area.

Carmarthenshire dairy farmer Brian Walters was re-elected one of the three vice presidents with Anglesey dairy farmers Eifion Huws and sheep farmer Richard Vaughan, of Tywyn, Meirionnydd, the other two.

Brian Walters, farms a 500-acre holding, with his wife Ann and sons Aled and Seimon, near Carmarthen. They have a dairy herd of 150 cows – some of which are pedigree Ayrshires – with 200 followers and 80 beef cattle. They also run a self-catering farmhouse holiday unit and take pride in educating the occupants on the problems and joys of farming.

Mr Vaughan who runs a flock of 750 Welsh Mountain Sheep and approximately 30 store cattle farms at Pall Mall Farm, north of Tywyn, one of two holdings, totalling 550 acres. Most of the land is at Pant y Panel and Prysglwyd at Rhydymain, near Dolgellau.

Pall Mall Farm has been successfully diversified over the last forty years. Outbuildings have been converted, two chalets built, and a caravan site established which, by today, has over 100 units. He has also developed a successful business purchasing and renovating houses in Aberystwyth to be let out as flats and bed-sits. Richard sees this as an important part of the business which brings in valuable extra income without taking him away too often from his farming activities.

He has been a keen and active supporter of the Farmers’ Union of Wales for many years and served as FUW Meirioneth county chairman between 2007-2009 and chairman of the union’s land use and parliamentary committee from 2006 to 2011. Richard was North Wales member of the union’s central finance and organisation committee from 2010 before being elected vice president in June 2011.

Mr Huws has been an active member of the finance and organisation committee for the past five years. He farms at Penrhos, Bodedern, a dairy farm with a 140-head pedigree Ayrshire herd which has an outstanding production and show record.

Mr Huws, a highly respected Ayrshire cattle judge, travels the length and breadth of the country, and in Europe, representing the dairy industry in the hope of acquiring better conditions and prices for farmers.
Mr Brian Bowen has been re-elected as South Wales member and Mr Dewi Owen joins the finance and organisation committee as its North Wales member.

Mr Bowen who served as FUW Brecon and Radnor vice chairman from 2008 was elected as its county chairman in 2010. He has been the Brecon and Radnor delegate on the FUW livestock, wool and marts committee since 2009 and currently serves as its vice chairman.

Mr Bowen farms at Pencoedcae Farm, Princetown, near Tredegar, where he runs a mixed suckler cow and hill sheep unit. The farm consists of 150 acres of owned land with a further 1000 rented acres and 1200 acres of common rights on three separate commons. He runs the farm, along with his father, mother and son.

Brian is also chairman of Llangynider Common Association and chair of the Glastir Committee for Llangynider Common Association. He is an executive member of Buckland Manor Common and Gelligaer and Merthyr commons associations, as well as being past director on the board of the Hay and Brecon Farmers Co-op.

“I was very pleased that Brecon and Radnor proposed me as a candidate for the election to the central finance and organisation committee as I believe that it is up to my generation to ensure that family farming in Wales continues and is attractive to the younger generation.

“Having served one year as South Wales member on the finance and organisation committee already I look forward to contributing effectively to the union’s work, and I am pleased to continue in this key role to see through the challenges and major changes which lie ahead,” added Mr Bowen.

Mr Dewi Owen of Esgairgyfela, Aberdyfi, was born and raised on the family – an upland farm which keeps sheep and cattle.

He has been an active member of the FUW for approximately forty years and has served as FUW Meirionnydd county chairman as well as county president in the past.

Mr Owen owns a butcher shop in the village of Aberdyfi, which is run in conjunction with his son-in-law who is a qualified butcher.

“I believe that the FUW is a strong voice for farmers in Wales and I thank those who have voted for me to join the finance and organisation committee as its North Wales member. During my years with the union I have been a member of several committees and I look forward to representing the views of our members,” said Mr Owen.

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