FARMERS' Union of Wales president Gareth Vaughan received the MBE in the New Year Honours List for services to agriculture.

He said: "I am proud to accept this honour on behalf of all staff within the union who carry out such dedicated work. I am merely the figurehead and I must pay tribute to all those hard-working people."

Mr Vaughan said he owed a great deal to Llangurig YFC, which he joined after leaving school at 15, and the FUW, both of which "have been there for me" after "wasting so much of my school days".

"I owe a great deal to the union and to the YFC for the influences and experiences I have gained from being members of both organisations which made a great impression on me.

"The YFC, with its varied weekly programme of events, its support group of advisory members and club leaders, and the encouragement to develop our strengths at every opportunity, impressed me greatly.

"Within the FUW I've been very fortunate to have the support of some top-class staff who can be totally relied on at all times. I also offer many thanks to my family who have looked after things at home to allow me the time to spend on union work."  

Mr Vaughan runs a traditional beef and sheep unit at Cwmyrhiewdre Farm, Dolfor, near Newtown, in partnership with his wife of over 40 years, Audrey, and 12 years ago his daughter Catherine and son-in-law Brian joined the business.

Born in Llanidloes in 1941, Mr Vaughan attended Manledd Primary and Llanidloes High Schools. He has been an active member of the FUW for many years and president for over seven years.

 He was chairman of the Newtown branch in 1988-89 and Montgomeryshire county chairman from 1991-93 and has also represented the county on the union's grand council and land use and parliamentary committee, the British Wool Marketing Board, the Meat and Livestock Commission liaison committee and the Agricultural Dwellinghouse Committee.

 He was elected as the north Wales member of the FUW's national finance and organisation committee in 1998 before being elected vice president in 2000, deputy president in June 2002 and president in June 2003.