Nine young farmers from across Wales have financially benefited from this year’s Gareth Raw Rees Memorial Travel Scholarship.

A total of £2,350 has been awarded by the Management Committee to scholars wishing to broaden their knowledge of agriculture, following a donation from the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

This year’s awards will be presented by Dai Davies OBE, chairman of NFU Mutual’s Advisory Board for Wales, at the Royal Welsh Show, today (Tuesday, July 24).

Main winner

This year’s main winner is James Evans who will receive £800 to help fund his travels to New Zealand.

The 27-year-old from Rhosgoch near Builth Wells, is the assistant farm manager at the Welsh Venison Centre.

The award will help fund a two-month study trip to New Zealand to learn more about deer farming and venison production.

James said: “I am really looking forward to spending time in New Zealand to widen my knowledge of the deer industry and I want to see how they are growing and developing the market for venison.

"With Brexit on the horizon and huge concerns about the future of agricultural policy in Wales, I’m eager to get advice and guidance from deer industry leaders in New Zealand and bring back ideas that will enable me to run a profitable business of my own in the near future.”

Other awards

There are eight further recipients from the scholarship this year who are each receiving a financial contribution to help with their travels.

Peredur Owen, from Llanelidan near Ruthin, receives £500 towards a three week trip to the USA.

Alongside assisting with the running of the family beef and sheep farm, the 25-year-old also works as an agriculture development officer for Dunbia.

Peredur said: “I want to advance my knowledge of the American red meat sector throughout their whole supply chain, in particular, to look at how US producers are implementing antibiotic usage recording strategies.

"I’m also keen to learn more about their use of progressive genetics and estimated breeding values with a view to improving the efficiency and profitability of our own family farming business.”

22-year-old Richard Jenkins, from Eglwysfach near Machynlleth, receives £350 to help fund a three-month trip to New Zealand along with a week study tour to the Republic of Ireland.

Richard said: “I am really looking forward to spending time in New Zealand and Ireland to widen my knowledge of agriculture.

"In particular, I’m eager to learn from the Kiwis and the Irish about their grassland management and how they make the most of every blade of grass and I hope to implement some of the things I learn to help make our farming enterprise in the Dyfi Valley more profitable.”

Also New Zealand bound are 19-year-old Gwion Morgan, from Mwnt near Cardigan and 22-year-old Gwen Price, from Llangadog in Carmarthenshire.

Both will receive a scholarship for £200 to help fund their travels to New Zealand to learn more about its agricultural industry.

Two of the recipients from the scholarship this year will each receive £100 to help with their travels.
Abbie Williams, from Llansoy in Monmouthshire, who’s an outdoor field studies teacher, receives £100 towards a three-week trip to South Africa where she will volunteer on an urban agricultural project.

Mathew Evans, from Llanbadarn Fynydd near Llandrindod Wells, receives £100 towards a trip to northern and western Australia where he will work on arable farms.

He hopes to learn about various arable farming systems and take some new experiences and ideas home with him that will help him secure a future career in agriculture.

A further two recipients from the scholarship this year will each receive £50 to help with their travels.

Carys Richards, from Abergwili in Carmarthenshire, receives £50 from the scholarship towards a two-week trip to Uganda as part of the Wales YFC International Programme.

Esyllt Jones, from Pennant in Ceredigion also receives £50 from the scholarship towards her trip to New Zealand.

About the award

The scholarship, which is administered by NFU Cymru, was set up in memory of the late Gareth Raw Rees who, for many years, was a delegate on the NFU Council and chairman of the NFU Cymru Education Committee.

Gareth believed fervently that travel was an important form of education for young people.