A Harper Adams University student and a Reading University student are the final two in the race for the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) Dairy Student of the Year Award.

The award is sponsored by ForFarmers and aims to recognise the UK dairy sector’s rising stars.

Teddy Moore of Reading University and Jon Witter from Harper Adams University were selected from a pool of six finalists from five different universities and colleges.

The winner will be announced at Dairy-Tech 2024 on February 7 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, where they will receive a cheque for £750. 

Students were asked to submit an essay response to a case study prepared by Kite Consulting to reflect real-life farming challenges.

They were then tasked with giving a presentation on what the UK dairy industry will look like in 10 years’ time, and discussing the challenges and opportunities.  

This year’s judging panel included RABDF chair, Robert Craig; vice chair Tim Downes; ForFarmers technical development manager, Alison Ewing; and Kaia Hillsmith of Kite Consulting. 

Youth of the dairy industry

Craig said the competition has become distinguished across the dairy industry due to the high calibre of students entering each year. 

“The optimism and enthusiasm towards the industry are evident to see from the applicants, and it is encouraging for the sector’s future success,” he said.

“All of this year’s finalists were outstanding and had a clear grasp on the future challenges of the sector and what needs to be done to overcome them.  

“It was hard to shortlist the final two, but Teddy and Jon had well-considered presentations with some great ideas about the opportunities for the sector whilst understanding the industry’s complexities.”

Hillsmith of Kite Consulting said: “The standard of finalists in this year’s competition has been excellent, with energy, enthusiasm and positivity towards the challenges and opportunities for UK dairy. This suggests a bright future for the UK dairy industry.”

Ewing of ForFarmers said the company is delighted to sponsor the RABDF Dairy Student of the Year Award this year.

“We must encourage, develop and promote high calibre people entering the industry,” she said.

“This is more important than ever as we need to help our farmers in terms of productivity and profitability and increasingly with the challenge of sustainability at the forefront of our thinking. 

“The calibre of this year’s students is really promising for our sector; they covered so much content and delivered it well, and I wish them all well.”