Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s flagship accolade, the Sir Bryner Jones Memorial Award is highly coveted every year.
The winner of this year’s award has bene kept under wraps until today, (Monday 24 July), the first day of the Royal Welsh Show, creating a real sense of excitement and anticipation that befits such a prestigious award.
This year awarded to the person in Wales who has made, and continues to make, an exceptional contribution to the Dairy Industry in Wales.
With all three finalists and their families eagerly awaiting to hear who had won, the society’s chair of council, Mr David Lewis announced that the winner of the 2017 Sir Bryner Jones Award is Mr Laurence R Harris of Ffosyficer, Abercych, Boncath, Pembrokeshire.
Since taking over the family farm in 1975, Mr Harris and his wife have developed a major family dairy business. They now organically farm a total of 3,000 acres with 650 milking cows, young stock, beef cattle sired by home bred Hereford bulls and a 2,000 head sheep flock.
In 2002 the business moved into contract milk processing and specialist milk drinks sold in convenience packs, under the product name Daioni. The milk is sold through to OMSCO Co-op (The Organic Milk Suppliers Co-Operative) where Mr Harris has been a member since 2002. Daioni products are a worldwide recognised brand. Daioni UHT organic milk products are sold for coffee in Pret a Manger outlets in Hong Kong and recently introduced into all French Pret a Manger Coffee Shops.
Originally, all UHT milk processing was carried out in Wales, but since 2015 the processing and preparation of the UHT Daioni product now takes place by using milk from OMSCO organic supplies at Credition, Devon. The result of all this development is a business system with Trioni Ltd, the controlling company with Mr Harris as Chairman and his wife Eira. Branded organic milk products are sold by Daioni Wales to UK outlets and Daioni Hong Kong Ltd, with son Ben as Chairman, and selling into Hong Kong, Shanghai and Vietnam. Other Daioni UHT products are exported to Middle East, United Arab Emirates, and recently into France. In addition, 1 million litres of Daioni fresh organic milk is sold via numerous outlets across Wales.
Thus, from the original farm activity in 1975 the farm and resulting dairy business now operates worldwide with a turnover in excess £4,500,000.
On receiving his award, Mr Harris said “It’s a great honour to receive such an award, especially when you see the quality of the other finalists. I have always been a team player, and I just represent the team. I would like to thank the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and the judges, it was a difficult job for them!”
Sir Bryner Jones helped shape the direction of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society for 50 years. He was head of the Department of Agriculture and Aberystwyth College in 1907 and went on to be one of the leading agricultural education figures in Wales. He was a person of influence in Welsh Agriculture, becoming both Commissioner and Chair of the Agricultural Council for Wales and subsequently became Welsh Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Sir Bryner Jones, who received a Knighthood in 1947, was the Royal Welsh Honorary Show Director from 1908 – 10 and was the society’s Chairman of Council from 1944 – 53. He became the society’s President in 1954, in the society’s 50th year and tragically died in the December of this year.
The first Sir Bryner Jones award was presented in 1957 by his daughter and has been made annually to someone from a different branch of the farming industry who has reached the highest level of achievement in the chosen sector.