The Powys based head of the Tenant Farmers Association has said he is “astounded and delighted” after being awarded an MBE.

Dennis Matheson, from Llangedwyn, has received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for his “outstanding service to the tenanted sector of agriculture in Wales”.

Dennis has been given the award for his work as the Chair of the Tenant Farmers Association in Wales which he has been serving as since 2012.

“I was totally astounded and delighted to learn that I was to receive an award for services to the agricultural tenanted sector in Wales,” said Dennis.

“I am delighted to proudly accept the award on behalf of all the team at the TFA and would pay particular tribute to our Chief Executive, George Dunn, who has worked tirelessly since devolution to raise awareness of the unique position of those that farm nearly 30 per cent of the land in Wales not farmed by owner occupiers.

"In addition, I would like to thank my Vice Chairman in Wales, Elwyn Evans, for his support, encouragement and practical input."

“It is gratifying that the Welsh Government has recognised that its proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme poses particular problems for tenants and that it has been prepared to make reasonable adjustments to its proposals.

“The TFA has also worked closely with the CLA, representing landlords in Wales, to address the same issues. After all, without landlords there would be no tenants and without tenants there would be no landlords.”

Dennis started farming on a mixed organic farm in Ireland in 1962. After University he moved to Australia spending 18 months working on sheep and cattle stations and wheat harvesting before spending six years with a mineral exploration company where he was responsible for negotiating compensation for landowners before returning to the UK in 1974 to run two North Wales dairy farms.

In 1982 he went on to become a partner in a tenanted livestock farm in Llangedwyn before becoming sole trader on 737 acres running up to 1100 feet.

The Tenant Farmers Association said it was delighted that Dennis was recognised in the Honours list.   

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn said “I am over the moon for Dennis. He has sacrificially volunteered his time to represent the Tenant Farmers Association in Wales over the past 12 years including as Chair of TFA Cymru since 2012.

“Dennis is always prepared to go the extra mile for the TFA and for tenant farmers in Wales. His dedication to advancing the cause of the tenanted sector of agriculture knows no bounds. Given his remote location, his work for the TFA will often involve extremely early starts and late finishes alongside his responsibilities in running his tenanted farm.

“The extent to which the issues impacting tenant farmers are front and centre in the minds of policymakers is in very large part due to the sacrifice and dedication of Dennis in ensuring that the needs of the sector are both articulated and understood.

“In all of the groups upon which Dennis volunteers to represent TFA Cymru, other group members and attendees can be in no doubt of Dennis’s commitment to ensuring that the unique circumstances of tenant farmers are fully appreciated in every policy and practical sphere.”