The Fellowship Of Royal Agricultural Societies Coordinated by:

CARAS Spring 2023 Update

Chairmans Remarks

The arrival of March again highlights the truth in Laighton’s The Lengthening Day “The days are growing longer now; On yonder elm-tree’s topmost bough, On the gilded cross that crowns the spire, More slowly burns the sunset’s fire” and this will be appreciated by farmers across the United Kingdom as they reflect on the Winter that has passed and look ahead to Spring.

The CARAS Council also reflects and looks ahead in order to learn from the past and plan
for the future particularly to streamline processes and ensure that those worthy of recognition continue to be identified. This was necessary during the pandemic when applications did
slow so it is pleasing to note that last year we awarded 34 new Associateships with a further 30 individuals advanced to Fellowship for their ongoing contribution to our industry and CARAS.

Sadly during the year we noted the passing of a number of Fellows and Associates and our thoughts are with their families and friends at this time. In particular we were saddened by the death of former Moderator Dr Tony Harris CBE and joined the Nation in mourning the passing of HM The Queen with sympathy extended on your behalf to HM The King, HRH The Princess Royal and HRH The Countess of Wessex.

John Henning OBE, FRAgS

It has been a great honour for me to serve as National Chair but hard to believe that my term finishes in April when the baton will pass to England and the very capable hands of Nick Green. Unfortunately, Covid did impact on attendance at physical events in 2021 but the easing of restrictions allowed me to attend award ceremonies in all four countries last year where it was good to meet so many members of CARAS and their families.

We are indebted to the Council, Moderators Panel and National Panels for their hard work to help further our aims and objectives with a special mention for Cyril Davies who stepped down from Council after over 22 years of dedicated service. We acknowledge the important role undertaken by sponsors and assessors in the assessment process and of course thank our National Secretary Richard Cooksley for his untiring work on behalf of CARAS. Please continue to support CARAS by attending events / receptions and help identify potential candidates for Associateships to your National Panels thereby recognising excellence in agriculture and rural progress.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your Chairman and I look forward to continue supporting the organisation and our parent societies as we look to a bright future ahead.

Best wishes – C John Henning OBE FRAgS

CARAS Officers and Council Members

To view a list of the current CARAS Officers and Committee members please click here.

CARAS Awards

Associateship (ARAgS)

To view the Associateship’s awarded in 2022 and to end January 2023 click here.

Advancement to Fellowship (FRAgS) in 2022

The normal minimum period of Associateship after which advancement to Fellowship may be considered is 5 years. The process is subject to stringent and approved review procedure that is instigated & managed by the relevant Nation. The relevant Nation carries out research on what the Associate has done since receiving his/her award. After the relevant Nation has reviewed the information on the Associate and if approved by the National Panel advancement is recommended to the Moderators Panel for advancement to Fellowship. The Moderators Panel review the proposal by the Nations for advancement to Fellowship and if approved by them is recommended to Council.

To view those advancing to Fellowship in 2022 click here.

External Honours, Awards and Appointments

The office has been made aware of the CARAS members who have received Honours, Awards, or significant Appointments as listed here.

CARAS Visit, National AGM and Meeting of Council

The 2023 CARAS National AGM, Visit and Meeting of Council is being held on 25th/26th April. Details of the location, a full schedule and the attendance packages available along with details of how to book can be viewed here.


CARAS Council notes with Sorrow & Condolences the deaths that have been notified to the office of Fellows and Associates during 2022 and to the end of January 2023 and to view the full list please click here.

CARAS England Update

2022 was an incredibly busy year with many opportunities for the membership to finally meet up and enjoy fellowship.

David Richardson speaking at the Royal Norfolk Show

We’ve had 3 show receptions around the country at Royal Cornwall, Royal Cheshire
and Royal Norfolk Show’s. Each event was kindly sponsored which allowed us to
invite non members to attend and hopefully identify some upcoming individuals to approach
for associateship. 

Our study tour across Exmoor was able to commence after being cancelled twice due to the pandemic. 33 members took part and enjoyed visits to several impressive hill farming businesses as well as organisations that support the Exmoor National Park.

The English Panel Study tour on Exmoor planting a tree for Queen's Platinum Jubilee
A H Worth Ltd trip

22 members were delighted to attend a tour around AH Worth Ltd in Holbeach, Lincolnshire hosted by our outgoing chairman Duncan Worth. A very impressive behind the scenes tour of the potato and fresh produce business.

The English Panel Awards ceremony took place on 11th October in the House of Lords, kindly hosted by Rt Hon Lord Taylor of Holbeach. 17 Associates and 12 Fellows were presented with their award certificate. Thank you to National Chairman John Henning for attending and to Richard Cooksley for his continued support.

Earlier that day the English Panel met to discuss potential applicants with 21 individuals receiving a chairman’s letter, 6 advancements to fellowship to be submitted to the moderators and many new names brought forward to consider. 

Dates for CARAS England 2023 Events include:

National AGM, North Somerset visits – 25th / 26th April 

Suffolk Show reception 31st May, 5pm in the Ringside Club

Bath and West Show reception 2nd June

Northamptonshire study tour 11th – 13th June

Great Yorkshire Show reception 11th July

Shropshire Fellowship visit 15th August

House of Lords presentation 17th October.

We have two new panel members: John Geldard, Cumbria and Al Brooks, Hampshire and we thanked Duncan Farrington (Northamptonshire) and Christine Knipe (Cumbria) for their support over the past 3 years. Andrew Blenkiron (Suffolk) is our vice chairman and will take over from Nick in June 2023.

We continue to produce a quarterly e-newsletter which is well received by the membership and contributions from members are welcomed.

David Grint has recently taken the role as CEO of Royal Agricultural Society of England and Nick Green and I look forward to working with David as he develops RASE.

Milly Fyfe – CARAS England Secretary

CARAS Northern Ireland Update

Visit to Potterwalls Jersey herd

The Northern Ireland Panel was very busy during this past year having organised the National AGM and Council Meetings in Belfast in April 2022. Preceding the Council Meeting and AGM on 6th April NI Members along with the CARAS National Council enjoyed visits to the farms of 2 Fellows – Allan Chambers MBE who farms the 400 acres of Cottage Farm in a shared farming agreement with his nephew Neill Patterson and the Potterwalls Jersey Farm belonging to Ashley Fleming before returning to the Crowne Plaza in Belfast for dinner. The events were well supported and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Presentation of Awards

At Balmoral Show in September 2021 CARAS was fortunate to be able to hold its annual awards reception. We were delighted to welcome TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex to the reception. Associateships and Fellowships were awarded to 16 individuals by HRH Prince Edward.

A CARAS Reception and Awards Ceremony was held in May at the 153rd 2022 Balmoral Show. The Show ran with a ‘back to normal’ feel with over 110,000 visitors attending over the 4 days. Six new Associates were welcomed into the NI Group and presented with their certificates by the Chairman of the National Council Mr John Henning OBE FRAgS.

CARAS Awards presentation 2022
Visit to Craig family farm

Our Autumn visit took place on 27th October to the Craig family farm, which is situated on the banks of Lough Foyle near Limavady and has dairy and arable enterprises. The farm is run by Thomas Craig ARAgS, his brother Robert and nephew Alister. The visit was very informative and inspirational and it was easy to see why Tom was awarded “Farmer of the Year” at the recent Farming Life Awards.

After lunch in the nearby Roe Park Resort the NI Group held its spring meeting.

CARAS has plans for several events this year at an advanced stage.

On 28th March the Spring Tour takes place to Hannan Meats at Moira, owned by Peter Hannan ARAgS. Members will get the opportunity to see the factory and hear how Peter has addressed the many challenges faced by the meat sector and adapted his business strategy accordingly. This will be followed by lunch in Edenmore Golf Club and the AGM of the NI Group.

Balmoral Show will be held from Wednesday 10th to Saturday 13th May 2023 with the annual CARAS Reception and Awards Ceremony taking place on the afternoon of Wednesday 10th May.

Already there are six new CARAS members to be awarded Associateships and a number of other applications currently progressing. Two Associates have successfully been advanced to Fellows with several proceeding through the process. It is pleasing to report that there is a healthy pipeline of potential Associates and Fellows.

Our Autumn visit is currently under consideration and plans will be finalised after our AGM. Several suggestions for venues have been made by members including Gigginstown House, home of Michael O’Leary’s Aberdeen Angus herd, arable, stud and horse racing training facility, Orkney Islands (interest in this was stimulated by the presentation of Steven Sandison at our webinar) and the Lough Neagh eel factory at Toomebridge, Co. Antrim.

Vickie White Acting Honorary Secretary, CARAS Northern Ireland

CARAS Scotland Update

CARAS Fellows & Associates Reception at The Royal Highland Show 2022

Willie Gill OBE, CARAS Scotland Chair and Alan Laidlaw, CARAS Scotland Honorary Secretary were delighted to host the CARAS Scotland RHS reception held on Thursday 23rd June and we were most honoured to have John Henning OBE join us.

The event was attended by over 100 Fellows & Associates and a record 29 Associate certificates and 7 Fellowship certificates were presented by Willie, Alan and John. 

The 2023 Royal Highland Show takes place on Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th June and CARAS Reception will be held on the evening of Thursday 22nd June.

CARAS Scotland Summer Outing 8 & 9 July 2022

The CARAS Scotland Summer Outing took place on 8 & 9 July 2022 and had good attendance, however we always encourage more Fellows & Associates to join us at this wonderful event.  

Willie Gill OBE, CARAS Scotland Chair and Alan Laidlaw, CARAS Scotland Honorary Secretary were delighted to host the CARAS Scotland RHS reception held on Thursday 23rd June and we were most honoured to have John Henning OBE join us.

The event was attended by over 100 Fellows & Associates and a record 29 Associate certificates and 7 Fellowship certificates were presented by Willie, Alan and John. 

The 2023 Royal Highland Show takes place on Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th June and CARAS Reception will be held on the evening of Thursday 22nd June.

CARAS Scotland Reception
Bruce Farms, Balmyle, Meigle, Blairgowrie

The program for the day included a visit to Bruce Farms and Glamis Castle.

Based at Balmyle Farm, Meigle, Bill and Geoff Bruce are third and fourth generation farmers, who have grown the business into a diverse family farming businesses and will celebrate 125 years of farming in 2023.

They now farm over 10,000 acres in both owned and rented land across Perthshire, Angus, Fife and the Borders where they grow peas, beans, soft fruit, blackcurrants, cereals, potatoes and have a recognised pedigree herd of Charolais Cattle.

The pea and broad bean enterprise has grown since 2007 when they co-purchased Dundee Cold Stores Limited, which processes around 40,000 tonnes of produce each year from around 400 farms. Bruce Farms are now responsible for producing half of Scotland’s annual pea and broad bean crop.

Recently the company launched a healthy dried pea snack called Podberry, which can be bought online and at various retailers across Scotland.

They also grow 250 acres of blackcurrants for Ribena and supply over 1000 tonnes of strawberries and raspberries each year, picked by over 250 seasonal workers and packed at their own packing hall at Balmyle.

A skilled sheep and cattle breeder, Bill farmed Suffolk sheep and Shorthorn cattle before introducing the Charolais breed in 1969, soon after importing restrictions were lifted. Over the years Bill has built up the multi award winning Balmyle herd of cattle, breeding the then record price, 33,000 gns Balmyle Champion in 1988.

Geoff has continued to drive the business forward expanding the enterprises with a focus on using the most up to date processing methods and technology to ensure the farms are run as efficiently as possible and the impact on the environment is minimised.

The visit to the farm was an opportunity to visit one of Scotland’s most interesting farming units.

Glamis Castle Forfar

Glamis Castle has been the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372, inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and birthplace of HRH The Princess Margaret.

It is still a family home for Simon Patrick Bowes Lyon, 19th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and is one of Scotland’s greatest tourist attractions, welcoming over 100,000 visitors a year from all over the world.

Tours of the Castle are by guide only but visitors are encouraged to enjoy the gardens which include the Walled Garden, the Italian Garden, a nature trail and the Macbeth Trail.

The Castle has always been at the centre of the 4000 acre estate and remains central to the local community. The land farmed in hand boasts both arable and commercial cattle enterprises, while there are 14 long-term tenants on the estate. There are also commercial properties, a forestry enterprise and a team of gamekeepers who provide some of the most exciting game bird shooting in Scotland.

Organised by the Strathmore Vintage Vehicle Club, the Extravaganza at Glamis will have over 1800 vehicles on display, ranging from commercials, military vehicles and steam engines, to bicycles.

A whole section is given over to tractors up to 1980, with the oldest last year being a beautifully restored 1919 Fordson F. Farm and horticultural implements dating back to the early 20th century will also be on display.

The Extravaganza includes a shopping village of over 200 stalls plus food outlets and, while there is no vintage parade on the Saturday, there will be main ring entertainment such as pipe bands.

Alan Laidlaw CARAS Scotland Hon Secretary

The 46th Scottish Transport Extravaganza

CARAS Wales Update

I am delighted and honoured to submit my first update to the CARAS National Newsletter as the new Honorary Secretary for CARAS Wales and new Chief Executive of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.  I want to start by thanking Mr Steve Hughson for his commitment and support to CARAS and RWAS for the last 10 years and I wish him well in his retirement. 

Royal Welsh Show 2022 – CARAS Wales Reception and Awards Presentations

The return of Royal Welsh Show after a two-year hiatus was eagerly anticipated. Despite the enormous challenges of increased show staging costs, labour shortages, supply chain issues and a record-breaking heatwave, the show was an enormous success. 

Our President, Mr Harry Fetherstonhaugh FRAgS, opened the show and we were also delighted to recognise other CARAS members for their contribution.  Mr David Lewis FRAgS who retired as our Chairman of Council was presented with an original oil painting by Meirion Jones, depicting him commentating in the cattle ring. Mr John T Davies FRAgS, and Mr Steve Hughson FRAgS were presented with the Society’s Gold Medal and Hon Life Vice Presidency. Lord Newborough FRAgS won the coveted Sir Bryner Jones Memorial Award and Mr Roy Davies FRAgS and Mr Colin Pugh FRAgS were both awarded Hon Life Governorship of the RWAS.  We were delighted to be able to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to the Show who carried out some of the award presentations. 

The CARAS Reception and Presentation Ceremony on the Tuesday evening was a huge success, attended by around 300 members and guests.  We were pleased to welcome Mr John Henning OBE FRAgS, Chair of CARAS UK who presented the awards of Fellowship and Associateship and also Mr Richard Cooksley, National Secretary. 

John Henning & Cyril Davies

The highlight of the evening was the opportunity to thank Mr Cyril Davies for his outstanding contribution to the CARAS Council for 22 years.  On behalf of National CARAS, a decanter was presented by the National Chair Mr John Henning.  Cyril was also presented with a Society Maquette by RWAS Chair of Council Mrs Nicola Davies ARAgS along with an album of images from his time at CARAS.

Overall, the Show was a huge success, and it was great to see the showground full of livestock, trade stands, people and some of the best displays in the UK once again. 

 CARAS Wales Field Day 2022

After a two-year wait, the CARAS Field Day was held on Friday, 30th September at Hendy Farm near Caernarfon, the home of Mr Aled Jones (NFU Cymru President) and his family. Over 80 people attended the Field Day which included presentations from Mr Rhodri Owen of Glynllifon College. He gave a fascinating presentation on the work of the 700-acre college since its formation in 1954. Among the many new developments on the campus were plans to build a new Rural Economy Hub to accommodate agri-tech start-up companies and units for food companies. This project was at the last stage of its funding application and, if approved, would be a £16m investment supported by the Shared Prosperity Fund.  

In addition, the college was embarking on an ambitious project to introduce a new sheep dairy enterprise. Their intention is to create a new Welsh Dairy hybrid, being a combination of the Lleyn, Assaf and Red Faced Manech sheep breeds. The enterprise attracted considerable attention and the Welsh Government are eager to support this growing sector by encouraging greater processing capacity within Wales. 

There was also a thought-provoking presentation from Mr Aled Jones, ahead of the farm walk. Aled explained the background to Hendy, a farm bought by his family in 1963 which is now managed in conjunction with his son, Osian. They run a herd of 500 Holstein cows, milked three times a day, with a strong focus on genetic improvement to create a high yielding dairy animal. He also highlighted the role that technology plays in a modern dairy enterprise, referencing some work being undertaken by scientists in Germany who are attempting to translate cow noises into messages or signals about a cow’s feelings and health.

He recognised the huge support of his family, particularly Osian, in allowing him time away from the farm to undertake his NFU Cymru duties. We are in a time of significant change and lobbying is crucial to safeguard the future of the farming industry, according to Aled who said, “government never has the monopoly on knowledge and wisdom”.

Field Day Delegates at Hendy Farm Caernarfon 30th September 2022

CARAS Cymru Conference 2023

Our Annual Conference was held on Friday 27 January 2023 at IBERS, Aberystwyth University, and addressed the theme ‘A Farming Industry Fit for the Future’.  The opportunities and challenges presented by data and technology emerged as the central topic.  

Our speakers included Mr Edward Morgan, Group CSR Manager at Castell Howell Foods, Ms Teleri Fielden, a new entrant tenant, and Mr Tom Allison, Nuffield Scholar, Dairy Engineer and Technical Specialist.

Teleri, a first generation beef and sheep farmer, called on farmers to critique their farm data.  Her own analysis on the tenanted farm she runs with her husband Ned at Beddgelert in Gwynedd, had shown they can challenge the negative narrative around climate change, agriculture and livestock farming.  They wanted a farming system that would address those issues, that they could stand behind and be proud of.

Technology and data can also play an important role in reaching out to school children and to give depth to the farming message, according to Edward Morgan of Castell Howell Foods.  As Group Corporate and Social Responsibility Manager, he stressed the importance of collaboration between business, unions, schools, academia and stakeholders.  He told the conference of the importance of being change makers and said the big question is how to positively influence what people put on their plate.  His mission is to deliver positive, evidence based messages, to quantify why a particular food item is the best.  It was Castell Howell’s responsibility to deliver messages, along with the one thousand pallets of food they deliver each day, not such an easy task in the food service sector.

Aled Rhys Jones, Thomas Allison, Teleri Fielden & Edward Morgan CARAS Cymru Conference 2023

Dairy engineer and technical specialist, Tom Allison, called for a better understanding of the role of technology on the farm particularly with regard to the spares required for tomorrow’s farming equipment.  We need better understanding of those manufacturing today’s technologies and their capabilities to evolve and adapt.  He said “At times, we will be expected to develop our own solutions and, key to this, we need to establish a culture of curiosity and imagination, traits I would argue that have been actively discouraged on most farms and rural businesses.  Deployed well, emerging tools and systems have the power to change how we live and work in the countryside and how our communities evolve.”

Welsh Council Meeting January 2023

At our recent Council Meeting Mr Emyr Jones FRAgS stepped down as Chair.  Emyr was thanked for his commitment and contribution as Chair of CARAS Wales for the last 3 years.  

The following Panel members were also thanked as they stepped down after 3 years on the National Panel – Mr Dafydd G Jones FRAgS, Mr Dafydd Parry Joens FRAgS and Mr R John Lougher FRAgS.

Council Members proposed and elected the following:

Chair – Mrs Janet Phillips FRAgS 

Vice Chair – Mr Mansel Raymond MBE FRAgS

Three new Panel members – 

Mrs Gaina Morgan FRAgS, Mr Arwyn Owen FRAgS and Mr J Richard Williams FRAgS

*** Save the dates ***

Royal Welsh Regen ’23 Event
Thursday 8 June 2023, Sealands Farm, Glamorgan, CF32 0RR

Royal Welsh Smallholding and Countryside Festival
Saturday 20 May and Sunday 21 May 2023, Royal Welsh Showground

Da Byw 2023 – ‘The Sustainable Livestock Farming Conference’ 
Friday 16 June 2023, Coed Coch, Dolwen, Abergele, Conwy, LL22 8AY

Royal Welsh Show
Monday 24 July to Thursday 27 July 2023, Royal Welsh Showground

Royal Welsh Winter Fair
Monday 27 November and Tuesday 28 November 2023, Royal Welsh Showground

Aled Rhys Jones CARAS Wales Hon Secretary

National Secretary's Update

Change in the Welsh Secretary:

The key to my role as the National Secretary is a strong link between the four Nations Secretaries and congratulations to Aled Jones on taking over from Stephen Hughson. Steve with the able assistance of Josie has been a great link with the Welsh Fellows & Associates and I wish him well for the future. I hope our paths cross before too long and thank him for all the assistance he has given me.

Contact Details

As our main method of communication is by Email now it is so important that any changes in email address are updated to the office. Unfortunately when a person has a new email address unlike a change of postal address when the new resident gets in touch updating us this doesn’t happen with an email address!

Membership Subs

Many thanks for the prompt payment of membership subs which are due on the 1st February and if you haven’t paid can you contact me and I will let you have the bank details.

National Chairman

The role of CARAS National Chairman is a two-year term and held by a Nation in rotation. John Henning OBE of Northern Ireland took the Chairmanship of CARAS from James Black of Scotland in 2021 and will be handing over to Nick Green of England in April.

Training and Education
Increasingly the need to demonstrate the skills we have to the consumer of the products we produce becomes more and more necessary. Equally so is the need to show the opportunities and professionalism available to those who are about to choose or are looking to start a career.

Many CARAS Fellows and Associates are very active promoting Agriculture in this area.

A real good example of this is David Jones ARAgS who hosts visits for youngsters to his farm, he drills into them the detail and the importance of communication and respect, but then finishes in the workshop looking at his American pick up and competition tractor pulling tractors.

David Jones and Young Farmers in his workshop

Royal Agricultural Shows

Royal Agricultural Shows:
CARAS being an awards organisation covering the 4 nations Royal Agricultural Societies the following are the dates of the Royal Shows covering the four Nations.

Royal Ulster Show
Wednesday 10th to Saturday 13th May 2023

Royal Bath and West Show
Thursday 1st to Saturday 3rd June 2023

Royal Cornwall Show
Thursday 8th to Saturday 10th June 2023

Royal Three Counties Show
Friday 16th to Sunday 18th June 2023

Royal Cheshire County Show 
Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st June 2023

Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show 
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd July 2023

Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland Highland Show
Thursday 22nd June to Sunday 25th June 2023

Royal Norfolk Show
Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th June 2023 

Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Show
Monday 24th to Thursday 27th July 2023 

CARAS Contacts

CARAS England


Milly Fyfe English Panel Secretary

CARAS Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Contact:  Vickie White Northern Ireland Panel Secretary

CARAS Scotland


Contact: Alan Laidlaw Scottish Panel Secretary



Aled Rhys Jones Welsh Panel Secretary


Richard Cooksley CARAS Secretary. Portbury House, Sheepway, Portbury, North Somerset BS20 7TE

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