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Agriculture lecturer crowned Wales’ Woman Farmer of the Year

Winner of Woman Farmer of the Year hold up glass commemorative bowl

Katie-Rose Davies, Lecturer in Agriculture at Bridgend College, has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to Welsh agriculture, receiving the title of ‘Woman Farmer of the Year’.

The award, bestowed by the Welsh branch of the National Farmers Union (NFU Cymru) and NFU Mutual, champions women in agriculture and seeks to raise their profile within the sector. The 2023 presentation of the accolade marks its 25th anniversary, which was held at the annual Royal Welsh Show.

Judges remarked that although there were a large number of worthy entries for this year’s award submission, Katie was a clear standout winner with extensive evidence of excellence within the sector. Previous winners celebrated alongside her as she accepted the award at the Royal Welsh showground in Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.

“Katie is a strong advocate for safeguarding the future of Welsh agriculture, Welsh heritage and culture and believes education plays a key role in promoting the fantastic work farmers do in producing safe, healthy and sustainable food. She endeavours to look beyond the farm gate and embrace a new, and perhaps different, approach to her business and embodies everything we look for in a winner of this award.”

Abi Reader, NFU Deputy President and judge

Katie joined Bridgend College shortly after completing her degree in Agriculture at Aberystwyth University in 2012. Passionate about mentoring and inspiring young people, Katie is an advocate for not only educating future generations of farmers but also for safeguarding the future of Welsh agriculture.

A third generation hill farmer, Katie plays a pivotal role in running Nantymoel Farm in Ogmore Valley, where her family have farmed for over 90 years. Committed to a vision of sustainability and animal welfare, Katie has enacted numerous initiatives to not only ensure the future viability of her farm but also upland farming in Wales as a whole.

“A couple of days ago I was going through some old books and inside one it said ‘Katie-Rose Pugh, age five – when I grow up I want to be a shepherdess’. I’m now 34 and I’ve just won Wales Woman Farmer of the Year, so I can tick that one off!”

Katie-Rose Davies, Lecturer in Agriculture at Bridgend College

Having been keen to enter the farming industry from a young age, she joined the family partnership in 2015. She has embraced new ways of working to further develop farming practices whilst remaining true to Welsh heritage and tradition. These include developing ‘Bwlch Mountain Lamb’, the farm’s lamb box scheme, and working in collaboration with Natural Resources Wales and South Wales Fire Service to improve animal health and welfare, soil restoration and habitat preservation.

Since then, Katie’s successes have been widely observed. In 2019, her farm hosted the Vice Premier of China, including a delegation, and Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs. The farm showcased the exceptional potential of Welsh beef and lamb in line with environmental farming practices, for which Katie has been identified as an industry leader.

In the same year, Katie met with His Majesty King Charles III at the Royal Welsh Show, where she had the opportunity to discuss sustainability in agriculture. 

Katie has also used her voice to both promote the Welsh agricultural industry and the women within it. This included ITV’s ‘Coast and Country’ in 2013, where she discussed the importance of education in order to encourage young women to take up careers in agriculture. 

“Women in agriculture should no longer be a stereotype. It has never occurred to me that I would not farm because I am a woman. The most important thing that the industry needs is the best people that are able to tackle the many challenges ahead.”

Katie-Rose Davies, Lecturer in Agriculture at Bridgend College

Looking forward, Katie is committed to playing her part in helping the industry achieve net zero emissions by 2040, for which carbon capture, the implementation of new technologies, grassland management and clean energy are all essential.

Furthermore, it is clear that education remains at the heart of her vision for the future. Outside of teaching at Bridgend College, she continues to partner with key organisations in order to provide young people with the best possible opportunities to learn about the origins of food, farming and the environment – the truest example of her passion and dedication to the sector.

“Katie is one of three outstanding lecturers in the Agriculture department at Bridgend College. They are all very active in the farming community and strive to give our students the very best work-related learning experiences. Katie is well respected and loved by her students, giving sound advice and guidance for their future careers, and guiding them towards valuable work experience opportunities. We are very proud of what Katie has achieved and very grateful that she has chosen to work here at the College.”

Sarah Allen, Curriculum Manager for Land Based Studies at Bridgend College

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