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Carmarthenshire dairy farmer recognised for outstanding services to the dairy industry by farming union

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A familiar face to many, and a highly respected dairy farmer from Carmarthenshire, Peter Rees has been recognised for his services to the Dairy Industry by the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) at the eve of Welsh Dairy Show function.

Speaking on behalf of the judging panel, FUW Policy officer Elin Jenkins said: “The broadness of experience that Mr Rees has accumulated over his career is extraordinary, from his grassroots on farm experience to working in education and inspiring future generations of dairy farmers to developing future technology for dairy farms. 

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“His time with Gelli Aur and Coleg Sir Gâr was instrumental in providing opportunities for many, who are now Wales’s leading dairy farmers. 

“He continues his support and work with the industry having held the role of chair in several influential groups and boards, not least the chair of AHDB Dairy Improvement Programme Steering Group and Interim AHDB Dairy Board Chair.

“The drive and zest for dairy industry innovation and improvement that Mr Rees possesses makes him highly deserving of the FUW/FUWIS – Award to the person who has made an outstanding contribution to the dairy industry.” 

Peter was brought up on the family dairy farm at Erwlon and attended Llandovery County High School. After leaving school Peter obtained a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Sciences from Nottingham University in 1978. 

Between 1978 and 1995  he was a lecturer and senior lecturer at the Welsh Agricultural College in Aberystwyth, for the majority of this time specialising in Dairy production.

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Between 1980 and 1988 he organised the Welsh Dairy conference at the Welsh Agricultural College. In 1992 Peter obtained a Nuffield Scholarship focussing on “The development of Automated Milking Systems in Northern Europe”.

In 1995 he left the Welsh Agricultural College to join Gelli Aur as the Head of Department for Agriculture, he subsequently took on a number of roles at Coleg Sir Gâr culminating in him taking on the role of Assistant Principal at the Further Education College.

Peter led the redevelopment of Gelli Aur as a Network of Excellence College with the establishment of the Farm Diversification & Technology Centre, and was key to the relocation of the Agricultural provision of Coleg Sir Gâr from the old Gelli Aur mansion to the purpose built facility that is being used today.

He further established and supported the development of the Dairy Development Centre and associated extension work out from Gelli Aur and facilitated and managed the expansion of land based student numbers at Coleg Sir Gâr.

Peter was Instrumental in the development of the farm enterprises at the college farm and over the course of his career in Dairying, and has been an important member of a number of influential dairy groups including the WDA Dairy Strategy Group, MDC Regional Committee for Wales and the WG Dairy Task force.

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Throughout his career in education he remained an active member of the family dairy farming partnership. In 2015 Peter retired from Coleg Sir Gâr and he now spends more time at home with his brother and nephews driving forward the business. The family run a 300-cow dairy enterprise in Carmarthenshire based on an autumn calving, grass and high forage system.

The herd is now all home-bred pedigree British Friesian and Dairy Shorthorns with some additional crossbred animals. He is also co-owner and director, along with his brother, of an award-winning 5-star touring caravan park.

From 2016 until 2021 Peter was appointed to the Agricultural Advisory Panel for Wales as the Independent member on the panel with responsibility for Education. This highlights the knowledge and expertise that Peter has with regards to skills and education within agriculture.

Currently he is Lantra Wales Chair, a member of the Farming Connect Strategic Advisory Board and Chair of the Farming Connect Training sub group. 

His contribution to Education and Technology Transfer to the Welsh Dairy Sector was recognised with the award of a Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAGS).

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Peter was a high-level Rugby referee officiating at European and Celtic league level. Since retiring from refereeing Peter has taken up various positions within Llandovery RFC and is currently Chairman of the Premier league outfit.

(Lead image: FUW)

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