A Carmarthenshire farmer, who launched his industry career on the dairy home farm in Whitland has been recognised for outstanding services to the Welsh Dairy Industry by the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

and who has since played an intrinsic role in the development of pedigree and non-pedigree herds,

Meurig James FRAgS, of Pengawse Farm, Whitland, started his career in agriculture as a farmer on the family dairy farm at Pengawse Farm, but with a younger brother at home and a limited acreage, he looked for a different career path.

In 1993 Meurig became breed developer and type classifier for the British Holstein Society and now holds the position of Head of Breed Development for Holstein UK overseeing the classification of 140,000 pedigree and non-pedigree dairy and beef cattle annually. He is also the head of the National Bovine Data Centre.

During his time with Holstein UK he has been instrumental in expanding its service to include other dairy breeds including Brown Swiss and Ayrshire and has also expanded the service into beef breeds, with 14 breeds now covered in total.

He has also played a key role in introducing new traits and composites to the classification process over time to take account of changes in dairy breeding as the industry responds to changes in market requirements.

He has also worked hard to improve the level of service to members, other breed societies, AI companies and other organisations for the benefit of the industry.

Meurig is a firm believer in the benefits that classification can have to a dairy herd in highlighting the strengths and weaknesses in cows and the overall herd, which can help farmers to make better and more informed breeding decisions by choosing bulls that can help to rectify any traits that need improving.

In addition to travelling the length and breadth of the rural roads of the UK, he has also represented the UK at world type classifiers workshops in Holland and Italy, undertaken a government sponsored study tour of Argentina and made several visits to North American herds and dairy shows to expand his knowledge which he has brought back to use for the benefit of Welsh and UK dairy farmers.

Meurig was the youngest ever Chairman of the South Wales Holstein Friesian Club, an organisation later renamed as the South Wales Holstein Club of which he became President.

He has also played an active role in the YFC movement both locally and across Wales. In 2021 Meurig was appointed as the Chairman of the Livestock Committee at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, having been a member of the committee since 2012.

He also sits on the RWAS council and has judged the dairy interbreed section and commentated at the Royal Welsh Show on a number of occasions.

Presenting the award, FUW President Ian Rickman said: “Farmers like Meurig play an intrinsic role in making our dairy industry a success. His dedication to improving the industry is clear for everyone to see and I thank him for the work he has done and recognise those efforts with the 2023 FUW award for outstanding services to the dairy industry in Wales.”