Dairy Student of Year sees non-farming background finalist

Dedication sees Max Mitchell, from a non-farming background, shortlisted for the Dairy Student of the Year award
Dedication sees Max Mitchell, from a non-farming background, shortlisted for the Dairy Student of the Year award

A Harper Adams student from a non-farming background has been named as a finalist in this year’s Dairy Student of the Year competition.

Max Mitchell, from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, was one of two students chosen from a shortlist of six to go ahead to the prestigious prize’s final on 2 February.

He was selected after impressing a judging panel at a London event at the Farmers' Club with a presentation on how the dairy industry may need to adapt to future challenges.

Max, who is studying Agriculture with Farm Business Management, said: “After being shortlisted, we were invited to submit an essay response on a case study dairy farm.

“This involved evaluating technical performance and suggesting necessary improvements for this dairy business.

"A prioritized SWOT analysis was composed and changes to environmental legislation, succession planning proposals and alternative farming arrangements were also addressed."

Successful candidates were then invited to the Farmers' Club to do a 15-minute presentation, followed by 10 minutes of questions on whether the future is bright for British dairy.

“Doing the presentation itself was nerve wracking and I had been worried about it for many weeks prior, juggling it with incoming assignment submission deadlines," he said.

“Despite this, I was confident in my ability to get ideas across and provide industry insights in front of the judging panel.”

Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) vice-chairs Di Wastenage and Robert Craig, Mole Valley Farmers’ James Hague and Chloe Cross from Kite Consulting are this year’s judges.

The final winner will be announced at Dairy-Tech 2022 in Warwickshire, and will get a £750 prize as well as a six-month paid placement with award sponsor Mole Valley Farmers.

Max added: “Hailing from a non-farming background, receiving recognition for this award will be a culmination of long hours, hard work and dedication to dairy farming.

“The award has been an ambition of mine for a long time, as one of my former dairy mentors previously won this award.

“I had made it a personal objective to attempt to participate as and when the opportunity arose.”