A Harper Adams University student was announced as the winner of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) Dairy Student of the Year Award at Dairy-Tech 2023.

Dairy-Tech, which took place on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, saw agriculture and farm business management student, Rebecca Smith, win the award to make her the third Harper Adams University student in a row to win it.

Smith was presented with a cheque for £750 and a trophy at the event, which is a tailored event for the next generation of dairy farmers showcasing new technology and skills.

As part of the competition, Smith also won a six-month paid placement with the Dairy Student of the Year Award sponsor, Mole Valley Farmers – an agricultural retailer.

To apply for the award, Smith had to submit a 1,500-word essay on a case study, prepared by Kite Consulting, and deliver a presentation to a panel of judges at the Farmers’ Club in London.

The chair of RABDF, Di Wastenage, said: “Rebecca gave an excellent presentation showing her deep practical and technical knowledge of dairy farming while also explaining in great detail how the wider industry needs to improve its communication with consumers.

“Figuring strongly in Rebecca’s presentation was more innovative product development to capture the valuable convenience food-on-the-go consumer.

“She also emphasised the importance of promoting the soil-health benefits of pasture-based dairy farming as a solution to the wider problem of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Rebecca also had very clear ideas around what we can learn from the promotion of plant-based alternatives, using social media and influencers to engage with Gen Z.”

Head of agriculture at Mole Valley Farmers, James Hague, said: “Judging this year’s competition was difficult due to the high calibre of students in the final six, which is encouraging and bodes well for the future of our industry.

“We are now looking forward to Rebecca joining us on her placement. Mole Valley Farmers and the RABDF will continue to work together to encourage, develop and promote young people who can work to deliver innovative and practical solutions to the challenges of modern dairy farming.”