Posted 27 March 2018
“I am really pleased to receive such a prestigious award, against such a high standard of finalists. I really enjoyed the whole experience and look forward to seeing what doors this award may open for me.”
Patrick (Paddy) Denny, a final year BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science student from Harper Adams University has been crowned this year’s RABDF Dairy Student after beating four others in the final round at the Farmers Club, London on Friday March 23.
He was presented with a £1,000 cash prize and trophy care of competition sponsor, Mole Valley Farmers. The runner up was Aimee Ash, also from Harper Adams University.
Paddy and Aimee, plus the three other finalists Zoe Morgan and William Turner (both Aberystwyth University, IBERS) and Tom Furness (Myerscough College) were chosen from entries from seven agricultural colleges and universities across the country. Each gave a presentation on “The UK Dairy Industry in the
Next 10 Years” before taking part in a discussion session chaired by Mike Green, Editor of British Dairying.
Paddy said, “I am really pleased to receive such a prestigious award, against such a high standard of finalists. I really enjoyed the whole experience and look forward to seeing what doors this award may open for me.”
The son of two dentists, Paddy did not grow up on a farm but has been getting on-farm experience since the age of 14. He spent his placement year working on a farm in Cheshire and was part of the team responsible for the day-to-day running of a 450 cow, autumn calving, grass based dairy system. He is due to start work Velcourt as a Trainee Dairy Farm Manager as soon as he finishes his studies in the summer and is looking forward to getting stuck in.
Peter Alvis, RABDF vice-chairman and head judge said: “The standard was extremely high and both Aimee and Paddy stood out with their innovative ideas and well-rounded arguments. Paddy especially had a clear understanding of both the challenges and opportunities facing the dairy industry in the coming years with great ideas how to exploit these for the benefit of the dairy industry.
“RABDF is committed to encouraging new entrants through our training courses and awards, and the judges and I were impressed that 4 of the 5 finalists were from non-farming backgrounds. Clearly this shows the desire of high calibre young people to join the dairy industry is as strong as ever.”
With the competition in its 28th year, students were invited to complete an essay based on a case study prepared by Kite Consulting. This featured a 300 dairy cow family unit, currently achieving marginal profitability and managed by a farmer seeking a long term plan to ensure the viability of the farm for his son when he retired.
The competition was judged by RABDF vice-chairman Peter Alvis, RABDF Council member Robert Craig and Chloe Cross, Kite Consulting.
Harper Adams students have won the title in 2015. 2016 and 2017.