Edward Towers, a final year student studying BSc Agriculture with Animal Science at Harper Adams University is the winner of the RABDF De Lacy Dairy Student of the Year. He was presented with a £2,000 cash prize by De Lacy and the university he represented received £1,000 towards an educational dairying project.
The other five short listed finalists selected from a record 31 entrants were: Lindsey Carnell studying BSc (Hons) Animal Science at Harper Adams University; Hannah Davis, CHE Agricultural Management, Bridgwater College (Cannington Centre); Jack Griffiths, BSc Agriculture, University of Reading; James Kelso, BSc Agricultural Technology with Professional Studies, Queen’s University Belfast and CAFRE and Andrew Tyrer, Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine, Royal Veterinary College.
RABDF invited agriculture and vet students to enter this year’s revised award – to complete an essay featuring business advice for the future of a 120 dairy cow unit managed by a farmer and his daughter. Essays from 31 entrants were received and judged by RABDF vice chairman Mike King, RABDF Council member William Westacott and De Lacy Executive’s John Davies. The six semi-finalists travelled to London on Friday 20 March to give a presentation on ‘The UK Dairy Industry in the Next 10 Years’.
“I am absolutely thrilled to receive such a prestigious award both for myself and for Harper Adams,” said Edward Towers who hails from Farleton, Lancaster where he has already gained experience as junior assistant manager of his family’s 300 cow herd and its accompanying dairy retail business. He has also had stints working on dairy units in New Zealand, in Germany and a placement year in Australia. Scheduled to graduate this year, he said: “Whilst I’ve already been offered an opportunity to return to my family’s business, I’m keeping my options open to work overseas. My parents are very supportive of me travelling and gaining further experience - it opens the mind to new ideas, helps to gain a perspective of the industry and to focus on what is really important back home.”
He added: “To the next 10 years and I believe that the dairy sector has a really positive future market. Whilst volatility is here to stay, the challenge for us all is to readjust our businesses; I think we should become more reliant on technology and on home grown forages.”
John Davies said: “It is so rewarding to experience the passion and commitment of these students to the dairy industry. Wise will be those employers who recognise their value in providing positive solutions to their dairy businesses. British dairying is one segment of a global growth phenomenon and I hope the competition entrants will harness their enthusiasm to explore dairy farming in other countries to bring best practice to Britain’s industry.”
RABDF chief executive, Nick Everington said: “Rewarding success and achievement, and promoting career opportunities in the dairy sector are key activities for our association. This particular award helps to identify some of the most intelligent and highly motivated youngsters who we are confident will help to secure the future for British dairy farming.”