By Debbie James

When the founder of Cows on Tour received news that she had been awarded an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List it was apt that she was touring Wales with that farming education initiative at the time.

Welsh dairy farmer Abi Reader founded Cows on Tour to educate inner-city children on how their food is produced.

That initiative together with the many others she is involved in was a reason why she was nominated for the award but she is yet to find out who put her name forward.

“I am wracking my brains on that one,’’ admits 37-year-old Abi, who farms with her parents, John and Jennifer, and her uncle, Robert, at Goldsland Farm, Wenvoe,

She received the award for services to farming.

“It is amazing, I am absolutely delighted,’’ she says.

Abi is a highly visible and respected presence in Welsh agriculture – as well as being named as the NFU Cymru Wales Woman Farmer of the Year in 2016 she is part of the Welsh dairy farm innovations group, the south east Wales TB eradication board and the cattle vaccination board and is vice-president of her local young farmers’ club.

She also sits on the National Farmers’ Union dairy board, is a dairy ambassador for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and a former NFU Cymru county chairman in Glamorgan.

Abi hosts numerous community and charity activities, with an emphasis on promoting the Welsh and British dairy industry to the public.

She has been a leading figure behind #HappyCows, a social media campaign which highlights to consumers the importance of healthy milk from happy cows.

She hosts placement students on her farm for periods of up to 10 months and acts as a mentor to countless young people who are keen to get into farming.

An MBE has also been awarded to Alfred Evans, a major influence in the world of sheep shearing.

Seventy-six-year-old Alfred, who lives at Beulah, Llanwrtyd Wells, and has taught generations of future farmers how to shear sheep and lay hedges, was recognised for his services to farming heritage.

His dedication to improving the professionalism of sheep shearing and to raising the profile of sheep shearing and wool handling competitions is second to none.

He has commentated on three world championships and is invited to commentate on sheep shearing events around the world; he was team manager for the Welsh shearing and wool handling team at the world championships in New Zealand in 2012.

Alfred has been at the heart of his local Young Farmers’ Club for over 30 years and a member of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society shearing committee for more than 25 years.