Society names new chief ahead of Royal Welsh Show

THE Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) has announced that Aled Rhys Jones has been named the next chief executive and will succeed Steve Hughson upon his retirement later this year.

Mr Rhys Jones will take up the role on September 1 prior to Mr Hughson’s departure at the end of that month.

Mr Rhys Jones, who lives in Llandeilo with his wife and daughter, is a well-known figure in Welsh agriculture. He grew up on the family’s hill farm near Cwrt-y-Cadno in Carmarthenshire and played an active role in the Young Farmers movement, which culminated in him being named National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs senior member of the year for England and Wales in 2012 .

After graduating from the University of Reading with a first-class honors degree in land management, Mr Rhys Jones spent the early part of his career as a land agent and became a qualified chartered surveyor and agricultural valuer. He later joined the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society as the assistant chief executive between September 2013 and December 2017. During that time, he was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship to study the role of agricultural societies and shows. Upon completing his scholarship, he presented his report by lui at the 2016 Nuffield UK conference and was awarded the John Stewart Shield for the best presentation.

Since leaving the RWAS, he has used his skills in broadcasting, becoming the lead presenter of the BBC Radio Cymru farming news program, Bwletin Amaeth. He has also spent three years as the chief operating officer of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV), alongside several freelance projects and directorial positions. Throughout that time, he has remained heavily involved with agricultural shows and events, using his knowledge of lui and Nuffield research to help societies with their strategic planning and facilitation.

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“Since 1904, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society has been a constant in a sea of ​​change, and I am honored to be taking on the role of chief executive as it enters its next chapter,” said Mr Rhys Jones.

“Once again, farming is facing a significant period of change and the role of the society in championing the very highest standards in farming and building a community that understands and values ​​Welsh agriculture is now more important than it has ever been.

“The Royal Welsh Show means so much to so many; it has played a big part in my life, and so, it is a huge personal honor and responsibility to take on this role. I’m keen to build on its success, safeguarding what is such an important part of our national identity for generations to come.

“People are central to this success and all the Royal Welsh stands for, and I look forward to working alongside the talented team of staff, volunteers and members who make it all happen, to showcase Wales and what it means to be Welsh.”

The society’s chair of trustees (designate) Prof Wynne Jones, who led the selection process, said: “Aled’s background and experience will be hugely valuable to the society as it looks forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

“Aled will bring his strategic vision and strong personal qualities to the role.”

The RWAS welcomes and congratulates Aled on his appointment and thanks Mr Hughson for his outstanding contribution over the past decade.

The society had been looking to appoint a new chief executive after it was announced towards the end of 2021 that Mr Hughson would be retiring after this summer’s Royal Welsh Show.

After nearly 10 years in the job, former Dyfed Powys Police chief superintendent Mr Hughson is retiring at the end of September after overseeing his 10th Royal Welsh Show.

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