Former international rugby union referee turned pundit Nigel Owens MBE has been busy in Gwynedd supporting Welsh dairy farmers.

Nigel visited fourth-generation Criccieth dairy farmer Siôn Hughes and learnt how a co-operative supports local farmers.

He also visited the home of Dragon Handcrafted premium cheese, South Caernarfon Creameries where he saw first-hand the quality and expertise in making the unique cheese and launched a competition to win a year’s family supply.

A farmer owned co-operative, with its membership from across Wales supplying the milk, the creamery produces the luxury Dragon Handcrafted cheese on site before maturing the cheese deep within the cheese caves at the nearby Llanfair Slate Caverns.

Since retiring as a rugby referee in 2020, Nigel can be found on his farm near Pontyberem with his herd of Hereford cows. He is an avid supporter of the agricultural industry.

Nigel was given a full tour of the factory with Dragon Handcrafted cheese to taste.

The Welsh dairy co-operative also bestowed the highly acclaimed chief cheese officer title on Nigel’s shoulders with the famous referee launching a digital competition to win a family year’s supply of the cheese.

He said: “It was wonderful to see first-hand how the Dragon Handcrafted cheeses are made and then placed underground in the slate cheese caverns. It really has a remarkable taste after being underground for months on end.

“It was also great to meet the farmers behind the co-operative to launch the Dragon Handcrafted competition. It’s a wonderful production line with milk from SCC’s member farmers collected seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year, by their own fleet of tankers. Even the bi-product of cheese making is collected and turned into animal feed so every bit of the milk is used.

“It’s great seeing a Welsh farming business thriving in the heart of Wales, and now some lucky winner is going to receive a year’s supply of this delicious cheese.”

Nigel also learnt how the co-operative supports local famers during his time with Siôn, who spoke passionately about his trade and gave an insight into how the business is run.

He said: “With 160 farms supplying South Caernarfon Creameries, our milk is used for all the Dragon ranges.

“It is great for us as it is so local, and therefore is a sustainable business plan with low food miles. All the milk used comes from Wales with farms in south Wales also supplying milk.

“The co-operative is an integral part of the community keeping jobs in this area of north Wales and I encourage everyone to support local and buy Dragon products in Wales.”

SCC head of operations Mark Edward said: “It was great to welcome Nigel Owens to the creamery and show him the work we do. We are committed to producing exceptional quality Welsh dairy products from quality local milk. We employ 180 staff and have 160 dairy farmer members.

“We are proud of what we produce here, and now you can find our Dragon Handcrafted range in a number of the best know supermarket chains across Wales as well as independent delis and stores.”