Rebecca Hodgson, a BSc Agriculture student at Myerscough College and Susan Carr studying at the Royal Veterinary College have each received the RABDF Farm Health Management Award sponsored by Volac, an awareness raising initiative for younger members of the industry. At a presentation at the Livestock Event, The NEC, Birmingham, today Wednesday 2 July, Susan and Rebecca were each awarded a £500 cash prize.
A certificate was presented to the two other finalists short-listed for the award: Victoria Read studying at FdSc in Agriculture at Plumpton College and Emma Stuart, a student at the Royal (Dick) School of Vet Studies, the University of Edinburgh.
This annual competition is open to agriculture, livestock and veterinary students from any course year including postgraduate students. It requires applicants to write a 1,500 word essay on proactive farm health management - a key element of the GB’s Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, and the benefits it brings to animal health and welfare and farm business profitability. They were also asked to demonstrate an understanding of the impact of good nutrition, consider the environmental effects of disease and its likely impact on meat and milk quality, comment on the overall progress of the national health planning and management initiative and discuss the differences among the various livestock sectors and how one can learn from another.
The essays were judged by a panel featuring RABDF Council member and Gelli Aur College farm manager, John Owen; veterinary surgeon and former BCVA president, Andrew Praill, and John Sumner, dairy consultant and award chairman.
John Sumner commented: “Now in its seventh year, we widened the award’s remit thereby increasing the challenge. It was evident from the essays that the level of understanding of the meaning and consequences of taking a proactive approach to health management continues to increase amongst both sets of students. Rebecca was a clear winner in the agricultural group with a well-researched and structured essay. It was however more difficult to separate vet students Emma and Susan, the latter having the edge by demonstrating good use of research and an impressive analytical approach.”
John Reynolds of award sponsor, Volac said: “This award has provided us with the opportunity to stress the importance of taking an holistic approach to best practice in livestock management. We would like to commend each of the finalists for having an awareness of the importance of adopting a proactive approach to farm health management covering all aspects, from biosecurity and environment to housing and nutrition. We are confident that this awareness will be of huge benefit in their future careers.”