A final year student from Harper Adams University has beat off six other finalists and one of the highest number of entries to scoop this year’s Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) Dairy Student of the Year award, sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers.

Agriculture with Farm Business Management student Katie Ackland from Devon, won the award after going through a rigorous application process, which included writing a 1,500-word essay on a case study and delivering a presentation to the judges over Zoom.

The competition run by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers is designed to reflect real life challenges seen on dairy farms and wider policy issues as well as identifying some of the sectors rising stars and new entrants.

Katie, who takes home £750 and a trophy said on winning the award:

I am absolutely delighted to have won. From growing up on my family dairy farm in Devon, through to completing my placement year on a dairy farm in Kent, I have always loved working and being involved within the dairy sector.

"Winning this award will give me a great opportunity to be recognised within the industry."

'It’s been a great experience'

Runner-up was second year Animal Science student Jessica Langton from Nottingham University.

She hails from a small dairy farm in the Notts/Derbyshire border and has bold ambitions to grow the herd as well as diversifying.

She says entering the competition has increased her confidence and allowed her to demonstrate her passion for the industry to the judges.

It’s been a great experience and will hopefully, help me on my career path in the industry.

This year’s competition saw some of the highest number of entries from universities and colleges right across the UK.

The calibre of the entrants was so high that seven individuals were shortlisted in the finals rather than five.

RABDF Vice Chair and competition judge Di Wastenage said:

I was really impressed with the quality of the finalists in this year’s competition. Students from six universities and colleges ensured it was very competitive and a really difficult job for the judging panel.

Robert Craig, RABDF vice chair and judge added: "The optimism and enthusiasm conveyed during the individual presentations was great to see and confirms the industry's in safe hands for the future."