A sheep farmer from Llandysul, Carmarthenshire, has won the 2022 John Gittins Memorial Award for his outstanding contributions to the Welsh sheep industry.

Lionel Organ, who has farmed at Tymaen Farm for the past 25 years, will be presented with the award at the opening ceremony of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair on Monday (November 28).

Lionel Organ

Judges Alwyn Rees, representing the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society; Richard Thomas, from the Welsh Mule Sheepbreeders Association; and Kate Hovers, from the National Sheep Association (NSA) Wales chose Organ in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the Welsh sheep industry.

Organ has had many achievements over the years, including having judged Charollais sheep at every Royal Show in the UK (twice at the Royal Welsh); having judged the Lleyn breed at the 2003 Royal Welsh Show and in 2011; and judged the Interbreed Pairs, again at the Royal Welsh Show.

He has also won many competitions with his flock, including several Champions at the Royal Welsh Show and his breeding has gone on to win at the Royal Highland Show and at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Sheep farmer

Organ ran a large Charollais flock of 450 ewes for 30 years, always striving to produce a Charollais breed sheep suited for the commercial as well as the pedigree breeder, and a breed that is more capable of thriving in the Welsh climate.

With the Charollais breed being signet recorded, he planned to hold regular production sales for the Charollais on-farm in a purpose-built sheep shed. 

In 2000, he held his first on-farm female productive sale, aimed at the pedigree breeder, and continued with biannual sales up until the dispersal sales in 2009 and 2010, with buyers from all corners of the British Isles. 

Organ has always stressed how important showing as a shop window for breeders has helped with displaying his best produce, especially at the Royal Welsh Show.

Since the dispersal of the Charollais flock, he has focused on his breeding skills on perfecting a modern-type Lleyn. He now runs a Lleyn flock of 200 ewes, which was established in 1985.

He selects for tights skins, length and improved conformation, able to rear two lambs with their combined weight equal to/or heavier than their mother at 12 weeks of age entirely off grass (75/80kg).