Promising Students receive Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Awards

Each year the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society presents promising students and rising stars with awards and scholarships which recognise and pays tribute to their enthusiasm and dedication to Welsh agriculture.

All of the following students have been presented with their awards at the Royal Welsh Show at yesterday’s awards ceremony, Tuesday 19th July 2022.

Student of the Year Award
The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s 2022 Student of the Year Award has this year been jointly won by Elin Prothero of Beulah, Llanwrtyd Wells and Hefin Lloyd Owen of Llanrwst, Conwy.

The annual Student of the Year Award is open to students who have completed NVQ Level III or the BTEC ND/NC, C&G certificate/diploma courses in Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Animal Nursing, Horse Management, Countryside Management, or other land-based related management courses.

The judges, Mrs Joy Smith and Professor E Wynne Jones OBE FRAgS remarked on the exceptional standard of each candidate. In a tough decision, they decided on joint winners for the award this year, Elin Protheroe and Hefin Owen.

“What struck us about the two extremely able individuals is that they are taking full control of their future career aspirations and educational opportunities.” the judges commented.

“They both have great thought and ambition about their future roles within the agricultural and food industry in Wales. Elin has a huge passion for the industry, she is an extremely driven and capable individual. Hefin showed us he is a mature, knowledgeable and hugely motivated person. We were impressed at their ability to discuss issues in a very informative and mature manner.”

The Gwili Jones – Coleg Sir Gâr Educational Bursary
The Gwili Jones – Coleg Sir Gâr Educational Bursary has been awarded to Llewellyn Stephen Roberts, of Llangennith, Gower.

This award recognises the importance of supporting students who are entering the agricultural engineering industry through facilitating a one-week work placement with a leading manufacturer within the sector.

The Bursary is open to any student currently studying Agricultural Engineering within the faculty at the Gelli Aur and Pibwrlwyd campuses.

Llewellyn lives on the family farm in Llangennith, Gower, where they have a mixed enterprise of beef, sheep and arable. Llewellyn has just completed the second year Level 3 in Agricultural Engineering at Coleg Sir Gâr.

Geraint Evans, Agricultural Engineering Team Leader for the college, says of him: “He has a very strong work ethic, and is passionate about his work. He has a bright future ahead of him”.

Llewellyn’s short-term career plans include working for a dealership in order to acquire engineering experience and with his keen interest in modern technology, he is excited at the prospect of a first-hand experience of the operations at Bailey Trailers and is very grateful for this opportunity.

In the medium term, he would like to follow his father and work for a local dealership, and in the longer term aspires to run an agricultural dealership of his own.

IBERS Student Award
The award for the best student of agriculture at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University, has been won by Mollie Hooper of Cascob, Presteigne, Powys.

Mollie has just completed her FDSc in Agriculture, a two-year foundation degree that is taught by leading experts and researchers in their field in a department renowned for agricultural innovation.

She currently works part-time on a large free range poultry unit which involves packing eggs for both wholesale and retail, as well as monitoring the health and welfare of 40,000 hens.

Mollie also manages her own flock of sheep and a small herd of pedigree cows, and helps out on local farms assisting with lambing, flock management and wool handling.

Harper Cymry Student Award
The Harper Cymry Student Award, jointly promoted by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and Harper Cymry, is awarded to Sion Meirion Thomas, of Cefnbenydd, Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire.

The Harper Cymry Student Award was first introduced in 1999 by the Late Mr Bill Ratcliffe, a Harper Adams Fellow and a founder of the Harper Cymry Alumni Association. The award seeks to encourage students from Wales studying at Harper Adams University to contribute fully to developing both their academic and personal potential.

The award recognises the student with the best academic record allied to a very positive contribution to the broader student learning environment of the college through its clubs, societies or through other extra mural activities. Also embraced in the award is a full contribution to the activities of Harper Cymry (the college based club for students from Wales).

In addition, the adjudicators at the interview, seek out the student who has the best thought out career plans and potential.

Competition winner, Sion Meirion Thomas was raised on a 252-acre sheep farm near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire which has been in his family for generations.

He is a keen stockman and helps out daily on the homestead. Since the passing of his father in March 2020, he has taken on more responsibilities on the farm, undertaking the daily jobs and general husbandry of the stock and land, whilst playing a lead role in seasonal duties.

Sion is a keen rugby player both at home and at Harper Adams, where he has played the first and third teams.

Dr Richard Phillips Agricultural Student Award
A Royal Welsh Agricultural Society award for students in memory of the late Dr Richard Phillips, a leading figure in agricultural education in Wales, has been won by Grant Samuel Halliday, Coleg Sir Gâr.

The Award is made possible by the generosity of Dr Phillips’ family, comprises a Society Certificate and a monetary prize and is open to students graduating from Agricultural Departments of the University of Wales.

Students are pre-selected by the Heads of the Agricultural Departments, with each University being entitled to submit up to four students of agriculture and/or agriculturally related subjects.

The final selection is based on an appraisal of the student’s personality, practical knowledge of agriculture and its application, depth and knowledge of the Agricultural Sciences, the economic implications, and the role of agriculture in the future.

The judges, Mr Huw Griffith, Mrs Mary Elder Richards and Mr WI Cyril Davies FRAgS, were impressed with Sam’s quiet and assured confidence and his knowledge of the agricultural industry, especially beef and sheep.

Sam attended Pencoed College and Coleg Sir Gâr where he achieved his degree in agriculture. He currently works on two farms in South Wales with Welsh Black cattle and Mountain Sheep. Sam has been a member of Gelligair and Llantrisant YFC and plays weekly for the unofficial Glamorgan YFC 7 a side football team.