Posted 9 February
“Winning the award for the ninth time in 10 years is a reflection that Harper Adams courses are producing students that the dairy industry is looking for.”
Harper Adams student Jon Witter has been named Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers Dairy Student of the Year – the ninth time in a decade a student from the University has taken the trophy.
Jon, from Sandbach in Cheshire, secured the 2024 prize at the Dairy-Tech 2024 show in Kenilworth on Wednesday.
The final year BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science student secured the prize after impressing a panel of diary professionals with a presentation on The UK dairy industry in 10 years’ time at the awards finals in London after initially impressing then with his responses to a case study looking at real-life farming challenges.
This year's judging panel included the RABDF Chairman Robert Craig, Vice Chairman Tim Downes, Alison Ewing, Technical Development Manager, ForFarmers, and Kaia Hillsmith from Kite Consulting.
Speaking after winning the award, Jon explained his pride in helping Harper Adams maintain an enviable record – and offered some words of advice for those who hope to follow in his footsteps.
He said: “I feel extremely grateful to gain recognition for something that I am passionate about - and proud to maintain Harper’s successful reputation in the competition!
“It is important to research around the topic and keep up to date with current affairs within the industry.
“However, I’d say that from talking to RABDF members, they are looking for students who have a good understanding of the dairy industry and are able to talk confidently about key subjects.”
Harper Adams Professor of Animal Science, Liam Sinclair, was among those at Dairy-Tech who watched Jon accept the prize – and said: “I am delighted that Jon has been awarded the RABDF Dairy Student Award for 2024.
“The award is keenly competed for by colleges and Universities from across the UK, and Jon’s win is testament to the hard work that he has put in.
“Winning the award for the ninth time in 10 years is also a reflection that Harper Adams courses are producing students that the dairy industry is looking for.”
And Harper Adams Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ken Sloan, said: “Harper Adams students have won this award in nine of the past 10 years.
“This is testimony to the calibre and motivation of our students, the teaching and support of our academics, and the stellar contribution of our professional and technical services teams.
“There is something different about Harper Adams students. They have curious minds, practical hands and courageous hearts. They are also committed to the University and our partner industries growing together.
“Congratulations to Jon - we will be watching your future trajectory with excitement!”