9 July 2013
Charlotte Torrance, an FdSc Agriculture student at Plumpton College and Gregory Steele, a student studying at Cambridge University Veterinary School have each received the RABDF Farm Health Management Award sponsored by Volac, an awareness raising initiative for younger members of the industry. At a presentation at the Livestock Event, The NEC, Birmingham, Charlotte and Gregory were each awarded a £500 cash prize.
A certificate was presented to the two other finalists short-listed for the award: Victoria Kirby, an Extended Diploma in Agriculture student at Myerscough College and David McFarland studying at Glasgow Vet School.
The annual award which was open to agriculture and veterinary students, required them to write a 1,500 word essay on proactive farm health management - a key element of the GB’s Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, and the benefits it brings to animal health and welfare and farm business profitability. They were asked to demonstrate an understanding of the environmental effects of disease and its likely impact on meat and milk quality, comment on the overall progress of the national health planning and management initiative and discuss the differences among the various livestock sectors and how one can learn from another.
The essays were judged by a panel featuring dairy farmer and RABDF Council member, Derrick Davies, veterinary surgeon, Andrew Praill, and John Sumner, dairy consultant and award chairman. John commented: “This is the award’s sixth year. We widened the remit this year thus increasing the challenge. It is however evident from the essays that the level of understanding of the meaning and consequences of taking a proactive approach health management continues to increase amongst both sets of students.
“We found it difficult to separate the top two in each group, but Charlotte and Gregory just had the edge. Charlotte demonstrated a good use of research and produced a well structured essay whilst Gregory’s essay was very relevant, to the point, and well presented.”
John Reynolds of award sponsor, Volac said: “As first time sponsor of this award it has provided us with the opportunity to stress the importance of taking an holistic approach to best practice in livestock management. We would like to commend each of the finalists for having an awareness of the importance of adopting a proactive approach to farm health management covering all aspects, from biosecurity and environment to housing and nutrition. We are confident that this awareness will be of huge benefit in their future careers.”
RABDF president, Prof David Leaver with Volac’s David Neville presents the awards to David McFarland, Victoria Kirby, Charlotte Torrance and Paul Wood on behalf of Gregory Steele.
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.