A young farmer from Devon has beat stiff competition to scoop this year’s prestigious RABDF Dairy Student of the Year Award.
Katie Ackland proved successful against six other finalists and one of the highest number of entries to win the national dairy award.
The competition is run by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) and sets out to identify some of the dairy industry's rising stars and new entrants.
It is designed to reflect real life challenges seen on dairy farms and wider policy issues facing the sector.
Katie, who studies Agriculture with Farm Business Management at Harper Adams University, takes home £750 and a trophy.
“From growing up on my family dairy farm in Devon, through to completing my placement year on a dairy farm in Kent, I have always loved working and being involved within the dairy sector.
"Winning this award will give me a great opportunity to be recognised within the industry,” she said.
Runner-up was second year Animal Science student Jessica Langton from Nottingham University.
She hails from a small dairy farm in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire border, and has bold ambitions to grow the herd as well as diversifying.
She said entering the competition had increased her confidence and allowed her to demonstrate her passion for the industry to the judges.
“It’s been a great experience and will hopefully, help me on my career path in the industry,” Jessica added.
Judge Chloe Cross, from Kite Consulting, set the case study and said the students had a great technical understanding.
“This year’s finalists showed great understanding toward the issues posed for the farming example set, touching on the ambition and desires of the family rather than just pushing for a system that they know.”
Robert Craig, RABDF vice chair and judge added: "The optimism and enthusiasm conveyed during the individual presentations was great to see and confirms the industry's in safe hands for the future."