William Cranfield, an FD Agriculture student at Plumpton College and Paul Doran studying at the University of Cambridge Vet School 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 8 July, William and Paul were each awarded a £500 cash prize.
A certificate was presented to the two other finalists short-listed for the award: Helen Parker a second year HND student at SRUC Aberdeen and Cheryl Burgar, a student at RDSVS, University of Edinburgh.
This annual competition was open to agriculture, livestock and veterinary students from any course year including postgraduate students. It required applicants to write a 1,500 word essay on proactive farm health management - a key element of the Defra/industry 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 disease costs and its financial impact on business performance together with the impact of good nutrition, consider the environmental effects of disease and its likely impact on meat and milk quality, comment on the importance of collaboration between farm staff, vets and other advisors in formulating health management plans and consider 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 eighth year the competition is well established. 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. William was a clear winner in the agricultural group with a well-researched and structured essay. It was however more difficult to separate the vet students as the standard was high, but Paul Doran topped the field by demonstrating good use of research and an impressive analytical approach.”
John Reynolds of award sponsor, Volac said: “We are pleased to support agricultural and veterinary students in this award which brings a focus to the importance of taking an holistic approach to best practice in livestock management. We believe that their heightened awareness towards a proactive approach to farm health management covering all aspects, from housing and nutrition to financial impact, will be of huge benefit in their future careers.”