Hundreds pay last respects to Monmouthshire cow breeding pioneer
9:00pm Thursday 29th August 2013 in Gwent news
A MONMOUTHSHIRE farmer and business entrepreneur has died following a long battle with dementia.
Fred Williams from Glascoed, a pioneer of artificial insemination in dairy cattle, died at the age of 78.
Such was the mark he made, around 350 people packed out the Mount Zion Baptist Chapel on August 20, with some lining the streets to say their farewells.
Born in 1935 the son of a farmer and preacher, his life was a remarkable success story.
With wife Emily, who he was married to for 58 years, they started with a modest five cows and 30 acres of rented land, before moving to Glascoed in 1959, where they continued to increase cow numbers.
Then in 1963 he purchased a bull calf, which - unbeknown to him at the time –would have a massive impact on his business, catapulting him into the realms of the artificial insemination industry.
Tredene Jan Alidema went on to win no fewer than 43 championships throughout his lifetime and his son Winton Equator 4 won supreme at The Royal Show in 1970.
He took the latter bull's breeding lines to the USA, Europe and Australia and later created one of first artificial insemination companies called Semen World Ltd.
By the eighties the company had over 80 bulls at stud, with a growing workforce and it went on to become a key player in the industry under the management of Fred and his daughter Marion.
Mr Williams also continued on his quest to breed profitable dairy cows.
A turning point came in 1982, when on a visit to Canada he realised the benefits of the Holstein breed could offer over the British Freisian.
His first herd of them was formed and in 1989 he built an iconic £80,000 embryo barn that accommodated 30 cows.
Granddaughter Rhian Price said: "He never faltered in his belief of breeding stylish cows with good conformation, longevity and production. Over the years he bred illustrious cow families."
In 2001 Fred took a backseat in the company and a deal was struck with World Wide Sires to secure exclusive marketing rights for US product.
Recently the company was acquired by the Duke of Westminster to form part of the Cogent group.
His son Graham is still managing the milking herd, which comprises of 170 cows.
Fred is survived by his wife Emily; three children Graham, Elaine and Marion; and six grandchildren.
Ms Price, 24, an agricultural journalist for Farmers Weekly added: "Grandpa was a remarkable man and he was a great ambassador for the British artificial insemination industry.
"He was highly regarded by so many people within it and this has been reflected by the vast number of cards and messages of condolences we have received over the last week.
"He will be sadly missed by so many, but especially his family and we will treasure the memories we shared with him."
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