Posted 14 January
A Harper Adams alumna has claimed the prestigious Holstein UK President’s Medal Award for her outstanding contribution to the breed, Holstein Young Breeders, and her Club.
Cari Thomas’ win means the medal goes to a member of the Cornwall HYB Club for the second consecutive year – after her fiancé, and fellow Harper Adams alumni, Steven Harris took home last year’s medal.
She has won an engraved medal and a trip to the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, kindly funded by HYB’s Principal Sponsor, Semex. The Holstein UK President’s Medal recognises and rewards young talent and highlights individuals who are the dairy farmers of the future.
Cari – who studied a BSc (Hons) in Rural Enterprise and Land Management at Harper Adams, where she said she made ‘friends for life’ – is currently employed as a genetic consultant for Cogent Breeding where she is helping to boost both the economy and environment through her work.
She said: “It's such a fulfilling role, enabling farmers to become more efficient, economically viable and environmentally sustainable through sire selection and mating plans.”
However, she was still surprised to find she was taking home the Holstein UK President’s Medal after this year’s winners were announced.
Cari, who is originally from Wales and now lives near Bodmin, added: “It was a massive shock - and I am over the moon. HYB is such a fantastic youth movement full of great people, and to win the award means a lot.”
The entry process for the award began with each Club nominating one young breeder aged between 18 and 26 years of age. To be considered for the award, entrants were asked to write and submit an essay titled “The Time is Now to address climate change. As the future of the industry, share your vision of what a sustainable dairy operation should look like.”
Six young breeders were then shortlisted for online interviews, with the panel of judges consisting of Holstein UK President John Jamieson, Semex representative Rodger Mather and 2017 President’s Medal winner Helen Eastham, who was representing Holstein UK.
Following the interviews, the final three young members were selected ahead of the winner being officially announced.
Holstein UK President, John Jamieson, said: “Semex have supported and sponsored the President’s Medal since its inception and the conference was a great platform for the presentations to be made whilst also being a great opportunity for the finalists to meet the delegates.
“We really appreciate everything Semex do to support Holstein Young Breeders and it is unfortunate not to be able to announce the results in person.
“To be a winner or a finalist has proven on many occasions in the past to be a stepping stone to greater things and is one of the most sought-after awards within HYB. With Scotland hosting COP26, the essay title was very appropriate and stimulated a great response from all of the nominees. The final three young members were equally as motivated in what they do and matched the criteria that was required to be a contender.
“Our three finalists are all enthusiastic individuals with a great knowledge of pedigree breeding and they are all heavily involved with HYB. All three have progressed to be a great support for their respective clubs and they are a credit to themselves, their families and Holstein UK.
“On behalf of the Judges, we would like to congratulate Cari Thomas on being a very deserving winner.”