The National Farmers' Union (NFU) Cymru (Wales) elected a new president and deputy president at a meeting of NFU Cymru's Welsh Council in Llandrindod Wells yesterday (Wednesday, February 9).

Aled Jones, who farms just outside Caernarfon in north Wales, has been unanimously elected to become the new president and Abi Reader, a dairy farmer from Wenvoe, near Cardiff, has been elected as the new deputy president.

Congratulating the pair, NFU Cymru director John Mercer said:

“I would like to congratulate Aled and Abi who have been elected to the roles of NFU Cymru president and deputy president respectively.

"As staff, we look forward to working with Aled, Abi and the wider NFU Cymru team on the significant challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Welsh agriculture.”

NFU Cymru president

New NFU Cymru president Aled Jones is an eighth-generation farmer who runs a pedigree herd of Holsteins with his with his son, Osian. Aled is married to Eilir and together they have four children, Osian, Prysor, Erwaun and Gruffudd and four grandchildren.

Aled has previously held a variety of positions across the industry, including holding the post of chairman of milk recording company Cattle Information Services (CIS) for seven years and being a trustee of Holstein UK for eight years.

Speaking about what he hopes to achieve during his term, Jones said:

“There’s never been a more important time to represent farmers in Wales given that we’re still establishing new markets outside of the European Union and that the agricultural sector here in Wales will soon have its own specific Welsh policy.

"What I’d like to see during my term in office is to see us further increase membership of NFU Cymru. I’d like farmers who are not represented by a union to see the value of joining and the strength in numbers that gives us to stand up for Welsh agriculture.

“Our fundamental role as farmers is one of food producers and custodians of the landscape and the environment. In light of the current challenges around food security and climate change, that role is hugely significant.

"Covid-19 has highlighted how fragile our food production systems are and with a global spike in energy prices and food prices predicted to rise, as an industry we have to ensure we’re delivering a healthy, safe, sustainable and affordable product for people of all price points.

"I hope that during my time as NFU Cymru president that we’re able to engage with our consumers, particularly those people who have no current association with agriculture and help to stoke their interest in the food they eat and where it comes from, because it’s something they require everyday of their lives.”

Deputy president

New NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader is a third generation mixed farmer, farming in partnership with her parents and uncle in Wenvoe just outside Cardiff. Goldsland Farm is home to 200 milking cows, 150 sheep, 90 beef cattle and 120ac of arable.

Abi is a co-founder of Cows on Tour, an Open Farm Sunday host and a former NFU Cymru Wales Woman Farmer of the Year.

Reader said she is "honoured" to have been chosen for the position and hopes to keep young farmers at the core of her work during her term in office.

"During my term in office, my priority is to ensure the union effectively engages with the next generation of young farmers and that we work together to deliver a prosperous future for the tomorrow’s Welsh farmers," she said.

Both Jones and Reader paid tribute to outgoing NFU Cymru president John Davies.