Judge Knows that he Can’t Please Everyone

THE MAN charged with the task of selecting the supreme cattle champion knows that he will be watched by hundreds of ringsiders who believe they could do the job better.

Lloyd Williams, an award winning third generation butcher, claims that all he can do is to promise to be as fair and honest as possible.

“I have never met a man who can please everyone, and if he exists he can come and work for me and name his price,” says Mr Lloyd Williams, whose family has an abattoir and High Street retail shop at Machynlleth in Powys.

He also has a 14ha (35-acre) farm on which he runs Hereford cattle and Suffolk sheep.

The abattoir, which is licensed to slaughter 30 livestock units a week, is being uprated with the aid of a Welsh Development Agency grant. Meat from finished animals bought from local farms is supplied wholesale to hotels and restaurants and sold through the family”s retail shop, which has already been refurbished.

Mr Lloyd Williams was one of the first butchers in the country to display the names, addresses and phone numbers of farmers who supplied the stock that provided the meat on display.

An English customer liked the meat he bought, spoke to the producer and nominated the shop for the Country Life Food Producer of the Year Award.

 “As a little business out in the sticks we were astonished when Clarissa Dickson Wright, the judge, decided to give it to us. We see it as a reward for everything that my father, myself and all our staff have done to try to promote meat.”

Other plaudits have followed, including a True Taste of Wales new product award for a stuffed cushion of lamb. This year the business has also reached the final judging stages of True Taste and Food from Britain awards.

Mr Lloyd Williams, who will also judge the hill sheep breeds at the Winter Fair, is keen to acknowledge the huge debt he owes to his father, William, for teaching him about meat and business.

In fact he believes that “the boss”, who is recovering from serious illness, should be the one given the honour of judging the top Winter Fair championship.

 On the day, he will ignore the breed and ownership of the cattle paraded and simply try to visualise each entry on the hook. Last year he bought the reserve cattle champion for £3700 and exhibited the carcass in the annual pre-Christmas show the family stages at its abattoir.

So is he likely to bid high for his 2004 selection? His answer is that he would like to, but intends to temper pride with common sense.

 We try to support farmers in our area, so if one of them exhibits a champion in any section I would have to try to buy it. But I have no intention of going mad.”