Posted 26 July 2018
“Siân was a very strong candidate with a long list of past achievements and clearly has the skills and determination to achieve many more. Her passion and commitment to the livestock industry is clear and the judging panel we would like to congratulate her and wish her well for her future career.”
This year’s winner of the Harper Cymry/RWAS student award is 23-year-old Siân Downes, from Tregaron, Ceredigion, who recently completed her studies at Harper Adams University and will be graduating in September with a 2:1 in BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science.
Siân has worked on the family farm for many years, with a special interest in animal husbandry and record management for their beef, dairy and sheep production systems. She has been a keen Pedigree Poll Dorset breeder for over ten years and was the youngest breeder to be voted onto the National Breed Society’s judging panel in 2013.
As an active member of Llangeitho Young Farmers Club, she has held positions of responsibility including club secretary and chairman and has been successful at county, country and national level in a variety of competitions such as public speaking, stock judging, cookery and lamb trimming. She was the YFC county attendant in 2014-2015, working with seven other members to support clubs throughout the county during competitions. She also took part in a month long exchange trip to Ontario, Canada.
As part of her degree course at Harper Adams, Siân’s industrial placement year was with Dawn Meats as Marks and Spencer’s select farm auditor, working with a team of four other placement students throughout the UK and independently conducting on farm beef and lamb audits in the midlands and Wales.
Alongside her studies, Siân chaired the Harper Cymru student society in 2015-2016, arranging meetings throughout the year and events such as attending the Meat Promotions Wales annual conference and the Welsh Winter Fair.
The award of the coveted Jerman scholarship in 2017 at Harper Adams University enabled Siân to pay for travel costs involved with interviewing beef farmers in West Wales about herd health management for her final year dissertation research. The scholarship was established by a bequest to the university from Mid Wales couple, Joy and Delwyn Jerman.
Siân is working with sheep genetics company Innovis based at Aberyswyth over the summer, visiting their breeding partners within the UK doing back-fat scanning lambs for breeding evaluations. At the beginning of September she will be moving to Norfolk to begin a permanent role as a shepherd.
Award judge, Hefin Richards said: “Siân was a very strong candidate with a long list of past achievements and clearly has the skills and determination to achieve many more. Her passion and commitment to the livestock industry is clear and the judging panel we would like to congratulate her and wish her well for her future career.”