Young farmer Neil Perkins' decision to convert his family's beef and sheep farm to a low-cost sheep business financially successful in an environment without subsidies has helped him reap the Farmers' Union of Wales Pembrokeshire branch's Countryside Award.

One of the judges, FUW county president Dafydd Williams, said: "The winner demonstrated a clear vision of what he wished to do following a visit to New Zealand on a Nuffield scholarship. His father agreed and their plan was supported by their landlords, the National Trust."

Mr Perkins, 30, of Dinas Island Farm, Newport, Pembrokeshire, said: "Farming has always been a passion of mine and an industry I have always wanted to be involved with. Having grown up helping my father on the farm I then went to study agriculture at the Welsh Agricultural College in Aberystwyth.

"After a couple of years there I returned home to work on the farm full time. I then wanted to take the business a step forward which gave me the incentive to apply for a Nuffield farming scholarship with the intention of bringing the farm into the modern era of agriculture.

"My aim is to produce lamb profitably off a low input grass-based system without subsidies and be able to market the lambs on the back of this."

Mr Williams agreed that Mr Perkins has a clear understanding of the industry as it moves into a period of much lower financial support from Government. "He is convinced that finance for business investment should be generated by the business in advance of expenditure and that current surpluses resulting from the Single Farm Payment should be invested elsewhere.

"He is also strongly committed to disseminating the information he acquired in New Zealand and showing how it can be practiced in Wales."

Mr Perkins was nominated for the Countryside Award by Future Farmers of Wales (FFW) chairman Rhys Lougher who stated: "Neil is an outstanding example of a professional young farmer.

"He has taken time away from the business to study agriculture through college and more recently on global travel through the Nuffield Scholarship. He has transferred this new knowledge back into practical ways of improving his family farm.

"Dinas Island farm is now well noted for the quality of the sheep stock and its high standards of grassland management. Neil also plays a key role in the wider agricultural community of West Wales and in developing other young farmers through his work and involvement in the Future Farmers of Wales Club of which he will be chairman for 2011/2012."

Mr Perkins, who became director of the family farm business in 2002, is married to Lynda and they have three children Osian (7), Chloe (6) and Sion (2). In 2005 he was a finalist in the Lantra land-based learner of the year competition and a finalist in last year's Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales "Face of Welsh Lamb" competition.

He will be presented with the award, £100 and one year's free membership of the FUW in the Grand Arena at the Pembrokeshire County Show at 2.15pm on Tuesday, August 17.