A Ribble Valley farmer’s daughter was among the four finalists shortlisted for the RABDF Dairy Crest Dairy Student of the Year.
Louise Hartley, of Bashall Eaves, is currently studying for a degree in Agriculture and Animal Production Science at the University of Newcastle.
She was delighted to make it through to the final four of the prestigious national competition, run by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.
The preliminary round of interviews for the Dairy Crest Student of the Year Award took place last month at Reaseheath College of Agriculture, where a panel of judges questioned 11 entrants – each from different universities and colleges, on a case study. Six semi-finalists went on to tour Dairy Crest’s national distribution centre in Nuneaton, where they each made a presentation on the advantages and disadvantages of dairy farming in Britain.
Four finalists were then chosen for a final interview and to make a formal presentation in London, on how they planned to further their career in the dairy sector.
Louise commented: “The award has enabled me to focus on what I’d like to do with my future career, and it has reinforced my passion for the UK dairy industry and British farming.
“I would eventually like to join the family business featuring a 160 pedigree Holstein herd. In the meantime, after graduating this year I plan to pursue a career as a farm consultant or in agricultural journalism.
“I have recently completed my dissertation on once-a-day calf feeding, and would also like to travel to America and Canada to study calf rearing systems.”
Louise added: “The award process gave me the opportunity to research different areas of the dairy sector, network with other likeminded young people and develop my contacts.
“I hope I can act as an ambassador for aspiring young dairy farmers.”
Dairy Crest’s Mike Sheldon commented: “It is important for the future success of our industry that we support and encourage the next generation of dairy farmers.
“The award is open to all agricultural colleges in the UK and provides an excellent opportunity for students who want to be involved in the dairy industry to gain valuable experience. We were very pleased to host part of the competition at our national distribution centre, which enabled us to provide the students with an insight into other areas of the dairy supply chain.”
Chief executive of the RABDF, Nick Everington, commented: “Huge opportunities await the next generation of dairy farmers, however we need a flow of highly enthusiastic, intelligent and motivated young people to take up the mantle if the sector is to progress and remain sustainable.
“This award goes a long way towards promoting those career options, together with rewarding achievement and success – just some of our association’s key activities.”
The overall winner was Owen Ashton from Navan, County Meath, studying for a BSc in Agriculture at the University of Aberystwyth.