Patrick Denny, a final year student from Harper Adams University, was crowned this year’s RABDF Dairy Student Award winner after beating four others in the final round at the Farmers Club, London. He was presented with a £1,000 cash prize and trophy provided by competition sponsor Mole Valley Farmers.
Patrick Denny, Harper Adams University and Peter Alvis, RABDF
The runner up was Aimee Ash, also from Harper Adams University.
Patrick and Aimee, plus the three other finalists Zoe Morgan and William Turner (Aberystwyth University, IBERS) and Tom Furness (Myerscough College) were chosen from entries from seven agricultural colleges and universities across the country. Each gave a presentation on ‘The UK Dairy industry in the next 10 years’ before taking part in a discussion session chaired by Mike Green, editor of British Dairying.
The five finalists in this year's competition Patrick Denny, Aimee Ash, Zoe Morgan, William Turner and Tom Furness with the final round judges; RABDF vice-chairman Peter Alvis, RABDF Council member Robert Craig and Chloe Cross, Kite Consulting
Award winner Patrick Denny said he was delighted to have won this year’s competition and to have brought the title back to Harper for a fourth consecutive year.
“The whole experience has been great and I’m looking forward to seeing what future doors may open as a result of winning the award.”
The son of two dentists, Patrick did not grow up on a farm but has been getting on-farm experience since the age of 14. He spent his placement year working on a 450 cow, autumn calving, grass-based farm in Cheshire and is due to start work at Velcourt as a trainee dairy farm manager once he has finished at Harper this summer.
Peter Alvis, RABDF vice-chairman and head judge said the standard of finalists was extremely high this year but Patrick and Aimee both stood out with their innovative ideas and well-rounded arguments.
“Patrick had a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities set to face the industry in the coming years with great ideas of how to exploit these for the benefit of the sector.
“RABDF is committed to encouraging new entrants through our training courses and awards and we were impressed that four of the five finalists were from non-farming backgrounds. This clearly shows the desire of high calibre young people to join the dairy industry is as strong as ever.”
The competition saw students invited to complete an essay based on a case study prepared by Kite Consulting. This featured a 300 dairy cow family unit, currently achieving marginal profitability and managed by a farmer seeking a long term plan to ensure the viability of the farm for his son when he retired. Five finalists were shortlisted from the essay entries and invited to attend the final round interviews.
RABDF vice chairman Peter Alvis, RABDF council member Robert Craig and Chloe Cross from Kite Consulting were this year's competition judges.