International egg industry honors Welsh egg producer

Welsh farmer Aled Griffiths OBE has received the international egg industry’s most prestigious award – the Denis Wellstead Memorial Trophy for ‘The International Egg Person of the Year’.

Eighty-eight-year-old Mr Griffiths, the founder of Oaklands Farm Eggs Ltd, was honoured at the International Egg Commission’s (IEC) conference in Kyoto, Japan.

The IEC represents the egg industry at a global level and each year celebrates the outstanding achievements of organisations and individuals from within the egg industry.

The coveted Denis Wellstead Memorial Trophy is presented to someone “who has shown consistent commitment and leadership to the egg industry over a period of years. This commitment is likely to be above and beyond the level required for their business position, and the individual will have made a significant contribution to the general good of the egg industry at an international level.”

Commenting on his delight at receiving the honour, Mr Griffiths said, “To be awarded the Denis Wellstead Cup came as a complete surprise at the conference dinner in Kyoto, with over 500 people in attendance. It was a very moving experience, especially as I would be one of the only people at the conference who had worked with Denis when he was NFU Chief Poultry Advisor in the 1970s.”

Now one of Europe’s top egg producers, and utilising the latest egg industry technology, the family-run Oaklands Farm Eggs packs over 23,800 000 eggs a week, packing one billion eggs a year between their two dedicated packing facilities in Shropshire and North Wales.

The company’s BRC ‘A’ grade, British Lion, RSPCA Assured and Organic Farmers and Growers accredited packing station in North Wales is situated on a 7.5-acre site at the Wynnstay Technology Park in Ruabon. There the eggs are packed for a wide range of retail brands, as well as its own Welsh egg lines.

A former chairman of the NFU Poultry Committee in London and the founder chairman of the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC), Mr Griffiths also served as vice president of the COPA-COGECA Poultry Working Group in Brussels.

He was awarded an OBE in 1994 for service to the poultry industry in UK and Europe, the same year he was made a fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society (FRAgS).

His first IEC meeting was in South Africa in 1985, and he subsequently became chairman of the IEC Egg Producers Committee and a member of the IEC Executive Committee. In 2012 Mr Griffiths was made an Honorary Life Member of the IEC.

Born in Penmaenmawr, Griffiths reared his first day-old chicks at the age of 10. Following agricultural college in Aberystwyth, Mr Griffiths and his wife Olwen began poultry farming on the Welsh borders, forming Oaklands Farm Eggs in 1969. Now not running the day-to-day management of the business, the company is run by the couple’s sons Gareth and Elwyn. Jonathan and Michael Griffiths, the third generation, are also now actively involved in the business.

Said an IEG spokesman, “Aled Griffiths has been active in the egg business for 78 years and represents the true spirit of the Award. Not only has he driven his own business, starting from scratch, but he has also created a wonderful family, he has worked tirelessly internationally for the good of the egg industry, and been a dedicated champion of young entrants into the egg industry.”

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