20 January 2023


Every nominee for this year’s Lantra Cymru Awards scheme has demonstrated their commitment to lifelong learning and maintaining the highest standards across all areas of working, Welsh Government Minister Lesley Griffiths has said.

The Minister has thanked and congratulated all this year’s award winners as well as the training providers who had nominated them.

The Minister said: “The Lantra Cymru Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the commitment and passion of individuals across Wales. A huge well done to all the nominees, winners and training providers for all of their hard work including to increase efficiency and introduce further innovative ideas into their ways of working.” 

Leading Welsh agriculturalist Mr Peter Rees, chair of Lantra Wales, presided over this year’s selection panel, which included Kevin Thomas, Director of Lantra Wales, Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones, founder and Managing Partner of Agri Advisor solicitors and agricultural Health and Safety expert Brian Rees, a former chair of the Wales Farm Safety Partnership and a Farming Connect farm safety mentor.  

Mr Rees said that the Lantra Cymru Awards was always one of the highlights of the annual Welsh farming calendar, adding that it was testament to all the industry’s rural stakeholders, including colleges and training providers, that despite the current economic challenges within the industry, they had again identified and nominated many outstanding individuals.   

“The Lantra Cymru Awards scheme, now in its 28th year, rewards the lifelong learning achievements of the many workers who, through their significant skills and abilities, contribute not only to farming but to the wider rural agenda in Wales, our rural economy and to the communities where they live and work.  

“Each nominee’s clear commitment to continuous professional development and achievements within the environmental and land-based sectors, is doing so much to maintain professional, up to date standards within our industry.

“Each one of them is making a significant contribution, not only within their own particular area of working, but to the sustainability and modernisation of Welsh agriculture long term,” said Mr Rees. 

Farming Connect is delivered by Menter a Busnes and Lantra Wales and funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. 


Lantra Awards 2022 – categories & biographies 

Lifetime Achievement Awardwhich recognises an individual who has made an ‘outstanding and significant’ contribution to Welsh agriculture.  

Winner: Julie Thomas, Simply the Best Training Consultancy, Tonypandy 

Former college lecturer Julie Thomas has been an approved trainer for Farming Connect accredited training courses since the programme was first launched in 2001. She has gained an impressive reputation as not only an accomplished trainer but is also highly regarded as a mentor to the countless students she has supported. The judging panel said that thanks to Mrs Thomas’ exceptional personal commitment to her role, individuals of all ages and from many different rural sectors had developed their skills and progressed their careers within the land-based sectors.   

An articulate and engaging communicator who instils confidence in her students, Mrs Thomas has dedicated her professional life to tutoring on topics ranging from agricultural business and financial management to staff development, marketing and diversification. An innovative and creative thinker, she is also in regular demand as a public speaker and as a judge for Wales YFC public speaking competitions.  

She has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), is a registered instructor with the English Speaking Board (ESB) and holds the ESB diploma in Oral Skills in Management. She is also an Institute of Leadership & Management tutor, delivering training for Lantra’s new Leadership & Management suite of qualifications. 

The panel were unanimous in awarding Mrs. Thomas this year’s Lantra Lifetime Achievement award, saying that her outstanding commitment to the rural training sector has, over the last 20 years, done much to professionalise the farming industry in Wales, and said that she is a very deserving winner of this year’s Lantra Wales Lifetime Achievement Award.  


Brynle Williams Memorial Award – this award was established in 2011 in honour of the late Mr Williams’ considerable contribution to Welsh agriculture as both an Assembly Member and highly regarded farmer. It recognises the achievements of a young farmer who has found his way into a farming business through Farming Connect’s Venture programme. 

Winner: Martyn Owen, Anglesey  

Anglesey-born young farmer Martyn Owen (32) is a successful share farmer on Anglesey who says that the introduction to his new business partner through the Farming Connect Venture programme two years ago, was the start of ‘a dream come true’. 

Martyn (32) who is from a non-farming background, has progressed steadily up through the industry. Hard-working and ambitious, from an early age he has been resolutely focused on developing a career in farming, having worked at numerous farms in North Wales as well as spending a year working at a large-scale cattle enterprise in New Zealand. 

As a progressive and dynamic new entrant to the industry, earlier this year he saw his long-held ambition to be involved in not only the day-to-day running but also the strategic direction of a Welsh farm business come to fruition. It was an opportunity he thought may never come his way, having spent many years applying unsuccessfully for farm tenancies, almost always losing out to someone brought up on a farm.   

Today, with Martyn’s support and a new sense of direction focused on efficient, sustainable farming, farmer William Griffiths (60) is gradually taking land he had previously rented out back into his 130 acre farm business on Anglesey. Thanks to the new low-cost grass-based rotational grazing system advocated by Martyn, the fields have all been soil-tested, ploughed and re-seeded and the improved pastures are ready for the increased stocking levels now planned. 

The judging panel said Mr Owen was an exceptionally deserving winner of this year’s Brynle Williams Memorial award, having demonstrated the skills, ambition and focus needed to overcome the obstacles of not coming from a farming background while also contributing to the sustainable development of a family farm on Anglesey.   


Farming Connect College Young Learner under 20

Runner up: Emma Morgan Page, Churchstoke, Montgomery

Originally from a beef, sheep and contracting family where she had always helped out, Emma studied agriculture at Newtown College. When her uncle was taken ill, Emma stepped in to help and she now has her own flock of 25 breeding ewes of Texel. 

Always open to learning about new ways of working from other farm businesses, she’s currently considering applying to agricultural college but feels that by taking a gap year first, she could help modernise some of the working systems at her home farm where she believes introducing some of today’s new technology will streamline systems.  

The judges praised Emma’s focus on development and learning and her willingness to trial and implement new ideas onto the home farm for the benefit of both the business and the environment. 


Farming Connect College Young Learner under 20

Winner: Gwenno Rowlands, Nantglyn, Denbigh

Gwenno Rowlands was brought up on her family’s farm in Nantglyn, Denbighshire. Determined to prove that girls are as capable as anyone else when it comes to mending and servicing tractors and heavy machinery, Gwenno successfully combined her Glynllifon foundation college course in agriculture with work experience at a local machinery dealership. Her work experience led to the offer of a part-time job, which gave her the opportunity to combine academic studies with practical hands-on experience. Hugely supported by her tutors, Gwenno was one of the only girls to complete the course in a seven-year period!   

Now hoping to find an apprenticeship which will teach her more about welding and fabricating, these additional qualifications will add to Gwenno’s college-acquired skills including tractor competency (with trailer); handling and maintaining quad bikes and telehandlers as well as grinding and welding. The judges were impressed by Gwenno’s ambition and commitment to succeeding within what has traditionally been a male-dominated sector. She has yet to decide whether to become an agri-mechanic or go down the contracting route, but the judges said she’s already on course to a bright future and an example to any individuals hesitant about working with heavy machinery.  


Farming Connect College Learner over 20 

Runner Up: Matthew Brown, Cardiff 

Matthew Brown recently returned to full-time education and is planning to study for an HND which he hopes will lead to a new career in the land-based sector. His long-term ambition is to find work as a park ranger.  Keen to work within communities both rural and urban, Matthew hopes to find a job where he can inspire and educate others to take an interest in the natural environment and learn how to care for it.  

He combines his academic studies with volunteering for a range of organisations and says this is a field he believes could benefit many other young people.  His aim is to help them become more confident, to believe in themselves and their capacity to keep working at things, even if the odds seem stacked against them and they go through difficult or challenging times.   

The judges said that Matthew’s tenacity and determination to not only succeed in his quest to find a new land-based career but to inspire others through passing on his own skills and knowledge makes him a worthy recipient of this award. 


Farming Connect College Learner over 20 

Winner: Kiera Jones, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire  

Kiera Jones studied her two favourite topics - animal welfare and behaviour - at Coleg Sir Gar, which she hopes will lead to her finding an overseas role in conservation.   

When family commitments permit, Kiera is planning to write books which will focus on sustainable, environmentally-friendly ways of rural living. She has also developed and is currently trialling a new app, designed to encourage people to live more sustainably by adopting environmentally-friendly practices such as building bird boxes out of waste items and incentivising children to walk to school.  She’s also at the early stages of setting up a new clothing line. For now, her focus is on getting a good degree that will help her find a new career focused on ‘making the world a better, healthier place’ by inspiring the next generation. The judging panel said that Kiera’s commitment to learning was commendable and were impressed that she plans to use her new-found knowledge to help others lead a more sustainable way of life.


Farming Connect Young Learner of the Year 

Runner up: Owen Williams, Seven Sisters, Neath 

Owen is involved in all aspects of the family farm. He recognises that the training he has undertaken with Farming Connect has enabled him to focus on aspects of the business that support sustainable beef and sheep production alongside environmental objectives. 

Owen has implemented genetic improvements within both the sheep and beef enterprises and focused on productivity from forage. Always keen to develop his skills, Owen has been able to reduce his reliance on contractors and has been able to generate his own income steam through contracting. 

The judges congratulated Owen for his ability to recognise the importance of positive environmental management alongside food production and his clear determination to progress the farm business through sustainable farming practices.


Farming Connect Young Learner of the Year 

Winner: Delyth Jacob, Craig Cefn Parc, Swansea 

The very sad loss of a close family member meant that Delyth felt she had no option but to take on the farm paperwork in addition to her previous day-to-day animal husbandry role at her family’s upland livestock farm near Swansea. Demonstrating energy, focus and a clear commitment to developing her business skills, she has completed numerous training courses through Farming Connect, increasing her knowledge of the business and financial management side of farming and using those skills every day. Determined to ensure the business is resilient, she has learned to prepare for the unexpected and where possible always seeks to reduce and manage risk. The judges said that Delyth’s immense courage and willingness to step up and help her family by learning new skills such as book-keeping and accounting during a very difficult time, makes her a very worthy award-winner. 


Farming Connect Lifelong Learner of the Year 

Runner up: Tammi Owen, Llanfair Talhaiarn, Abergele

Tammi has already undertaken a range of Farming Connect business courses including book-keeping, marketing and other diversification-related topics. She utilises these new skills for the benefit of the farm business and now has the confidence and knowledge to make a valuable contribution to the new diversification enterprises currently being considered by her family. She has a good understanding of the importance of monitoring expenditure and income and of pro-active marketing.  

Determined to extend her skill set yet further, business planning is the next topic on her study list. The judges were impressed with Tammi’s commitment to learning, which will enable her to take on more responsibility as the farm business develops, while also managing to fit this in alongside a part-time role she has with the Wales NHS. 


Farming Connect Lifelong Learner of the Year 

Winner: Andrew Williams, Boughrood, Brecon

Andrew combines working on the family farm in Powys with a full-time role working in the ‘agri-tech’ sector. Having left school after A levels, Andrew, a keen ‘gadget’ person who enjoys repairing and upgrading equipment, has used Farming Connect training to gain both business management and technical skills which support decision making and efficiency at his family’s mixed livestock holding and in his job.

Armed with an up-to-date CV and a raft of new skills, Andrew is clearly happy to be given more responsibility and is confident about his ability to impart his knowledge to others, which means he is able to tutor and mentor customers seeking to implement new innovation and technology, particularly automation, into farm businesses.  

The judges were impressed by Andrew's practical experience and technical know-how, and said his understanding of the key business drivers that can help farm businesses progress makes him a worthy winner of this award.  


Farming Connect Animal Health & Welfare Award

Runner up: Tom Ablitt, Camrose, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire

Tom Ablitt is a tenant farmer whose farm comprises both dairy and beef cattle, sheep and arable.  An advocate of lifelong learning, Tom has increased his knowledge of animal health and welfare issues through attending various Farming Connect workshops on this important topic. The combination of backing up his practical knowledge with up-to-date theory has given him new skills and techniques he utilises at home.  

Having found the workshops accessible and informative, with easily digested information pitched at the right level, the judges said that Tom had demonstrated his eagerness to modernise and professionalise the way he runs his farm. A willing adopter of monitoring and recording results on issues such as lameness which led to him making systemic changes resulting in improvements, the judges said that Tom’s commitment to learning and implementing new more efficient ways of working makes him an excellent recipient of this award. 


Farming Connect Animal Health & Welfare Award

Runner up: Annie Peters, Crindale, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire 

The range of Farming Connect animal health and welfare courses Annie has attended have allowed her to learn about different elements of farming that she wouldn’t necessarily see on her home farm. While some may consider this unnecessary, Annie has embraced the opportunity to benefit from all training available to her. The judges were impressed by her willingness to take time out of her busy schedule, between farming and college studies, to learn new topics that will undoubtedly benefit her greatly as her career within the farming industry progresses.  

The panel were impressed with Annie’s obvious dedication to her livestock and the farming industry in general, saying that despite her young age, she is very worthy of this award, already demonstrating an incredible wealth of knowledge and passion and the willingness to embrace lifelong learning.


Farming Connect Animal Health & Welfare Award

Winner: Zoe Stanisstreet, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire 

Together with her husband, Zoe Stanisstreet farms a flock of South Wales Mountain hill ewes at the couple’s farm near Llandovery and she is also a contract shepherd on a local farm which keeps Suffolk cross Texel ewes. 

Originally farming on a larger scale in South West England, Zoe has tapped into Farming Connect animal health and welfare workshops in order better understand indigenous ‘Welsh’ sheep and our wetter, colder climate conditions where conditions such as liver fluke are more prevalent.   

The judges were impressed by Zoe’s commitment to learning all she can about sheep farming in Wales and to gaining a better understanding of the differences between lowland and hill sheep. Already planning to learn more about nutrition, the panel said she has demonstrated an aptitude for not only keeping up to date with current animal health and welfare best practice through her commitment to training, but also benefited from her willingness to meet up and learn from other experienced farmers. 


Farming Connect Farm Innovator Award

Highly commended: Eurig Jones, Boncath, Pembrokeshire

Eurig Jones farms 200 acres in Pembrokeshire on the family farm which he and his father run with the help of two workers. They have a flock of 1,800 improved Welsh ewes and a herd of 80 Hereford cross suckler cattle. In a bid to reduce the costs of bought in feed, Eurig recently trialled a high-yielding crop of peas and beans which are now included with a straw bi-product as part of the livestock’s total mixed ration (TMR). Advised by a nutritionist, Eurig incorporates the required level of nutrients including good quality forage with the optimum balance of proteins, vitamins and minerals, thereby improving the performance of his livestock.  

A keen advocate of learning from other farmers and of imparting his knowledge to others, Eurig says that tractor GPS has resulted in both environmental and financial benefits. He uses field-mapping to ensure he targets his use of fertiliser and is already investigating options for robotic feeding to counter staff shortages. The judges said it was impressive to see how Eurig consistently strives to trial and implement innovative and more efficient ways of farming in order to drive the farm forward.  


Farming Connect Farm Innovator Award

Highly commended: Jessica & John Goodwin, Presteigne

Experienced farmers Jessica and John Goodwin have for many years sold top-quality cattle from their farm in Presteigne to Waitrose. In addition, they sell fresh chilled and frozen beef, lamb and pork directly to customers. They grow all their own feed, rely on Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and have a proactive approach to animal health and breeding. 

In 2021, they decided that their high volume of meat sales – from around seven cattle, 30 lambs and 50 pigs a year – warranted them investing in a new vending machine. With an expanding customer base happy to pay slightly more premium quality local farm produce, the completely self-automated vending machines which the Goodwins installed, which take contactless payments, have proved a huge success, saving them time and money. 

The judging panel said that the Goodwin family have an enviable reputation for producing and selling top quality meat, and that their willingness to embrace new technology, which reduces their previous reliance on manpower, is impressive. 


Farming Connect Farm Innovator Award

Winner: Llion & Siân Jones, Moelogan Fawr, Carmel, Llanrwst 

Young farmers Llion and Siân had previously worked at a National Trust farm but the opportunity to return to Siân’s family farm in Llanrwst to run their own farm business was something they were keen to embrace. With an eye to the future development of the farm, their focus on introducing innovative technology has already streamlined many of the more traditional systems previously used at Moelogan Fawr. 

Today, with three young children to plan for, they are already saving time and money, using AgriWebb and Agrinet software which has ‘revolutionised’ numerous management systems across the business, giving them instant access to critical information which will improve the performance of both livestock and grassland. With a closed herd of stabiliser cattle and improved Welsh ewes, the couple are moving towards selling store cattle instead of finished beef due to the escalating costs of buying in feed and are also considering diversifying into holiday lets. The judging panel said this forward-thinking young couple are setting an excellent example of utilising innovation and technology within a progressive and sustainable farm business, making them worthy winners of this award.  

Related News and Events

Welsh woodland demonstrates how trees can be a viable option for farmers
30 November 2023 Trees shape the appearance of the Welsh
Impressive and innovative business proposal wins Erin the Agri Academy Farm Challenge Award
27 November 2023 A young sheep farmer’s vision for a newly
Farming Connect launches a series of ‘masterclasses’ for farmers across Wales
22 November 2023 Farmers in Wales looking to improve their