Posted 20 January
“I am very delighted that the final two students in the RABDF Dairy Student Award 2023 are both from Harper Adams University. This will be the eighth time in the last nine years that a Harper Adams student has won the award. This success is a reflection that our students are well prepared for the dairy industry, and that they are able to articulate their views and opinions on a variety of topics."
The title of Dairy Student of the Year is set to be held by a Harper Adams scholar once again – with both 2023 finalists studying at the University.
The award – organised by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers – is set to be announced at Dairy-Tech in Stoneleigh on February 1.
Finalists Rebecca Smith, from Cumbria, and Jack Howard, from Somerset, were selected from a shortlist of six .
Meet our two Dairy Student of the Year finalists- Jack Howard and Rebecca Smith, both from @HarperAdamsUni . Competition judge @WastenageFarms said picking a winner was almost 'impossible'. The winner announcement is 10:45am on the Dairy Hub stand at #dairytechuk @molevalley pic.twitter.com/PX8m2xu3BM— Dairy-Tech (@Dairy_TechUK) January 20, 2023
Each shortlisted student had to undertake a case study business appraisal to get in to the final, and then provide a 10 minute presentation to an audience of experts at the Famers’ Club in London, responding to the prompt: The future reputation of the Dairy Industry is at stake. How do we encourage Gen Z to consume, enjoy and promote dairy products? Discuss.
Rebecca said: “It was quite nerve-racking to begin with, but once I got into the interview and conducted my presentation the nerves subsided.
“I was very happy to be shortlisted for the award and it has been a great experience.”
And Jack added: “I am very grateful for the people over the years who have allowed me to learn and had the patience for me. If I had told 11-year-old me who was milking cows that I would get this far in a award I wouldn't have believed you!
“Whatever the end result I have enjoyed the process and looking forward to my future in the industry.”
Jack added that – while initially nervous making his presentation – he soon found his feet.
He added: “Once I got settled and the questions started coming I felt surprisingly relaxed. I enjoyed being on the spot and really got to test my knowledge around the subjects given.
“It's sometimes surprising what you know!
“The RABDF Entrepreneurs in Dairying course I had just completed before the presentation allowed me to have up to date knowledge and gave me so much confidence which helped. The diversity of my course also allowed me to use a wide range of knowledge to answer the questions - time flies when you’re having fun!”
Rebecca, a BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management student, hopes to visit New Zealand to study the country’s dairy farming in detail once she completes her studies at Harper Adams.
She added: “I decided to study this course because I felt that it would give me an opportunity to understand the business side of agriculture better. Harper Adams is known really well in the agricultural community as being one of the top universities and there are a lot of like-minded people here who are passionate about similar things.
“I have learnt a lot from the course at Harper which will be invaluable in the future. It is also a great place to network and get your profile out there.”
Meanwhile BSc (Hons) Rural Enterprise and Land Management student Jack said: “In the next 10 years agriculture is going to have some massive changes - which are exciting.
“Gone are the days of just being farmers and tending to your crops and livestock. You have to be business minded in every aspect and having that understanding of law, tax, international trade, planning etc allows you to look at a business at a different angle.
“The name of Harper Adams stands out on your CV and the connections you make will stand you great value for life.”
Harper Adams Professor of Animal Science, Professor Liam Sinclair, welcomed the news that Harper Adams was yet again set to take the Dairy Student of the Year crown.
He said: “I am very delighted that the final two students in the RABDF Dairy Student Award 2023 are both from Harper Adams University.
“This will be the eighth time in the last nine years that a Harper Adams student has won the award.
“This success is a reflection that our students are well prepared for the dairy industry, and that they are able to articulate their views and opinions on a variety of topics.
“I wish both Rebecca and Jack the best of luck!”