A University Centre Myerscough agriculture student has been recognised as a rising star in the sector in the Dairy Student of the Year Award.
Matthew McClymont was named runner-up in the RABDF Dairy Student of the Year Award, sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers. Matthew was selected from six finalists to make the final two, following a formal interview and panel discussion.
Students were asked to submit an essay response to a case study prepared by Kite Consulting to reflect real-life farming challenges. They were then asked to give a presentation on how the dairy industry might need to change to meet future challenges.
The competition run by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers is designed to reflect real-life challenges seen on dairy farms and wider policy issues as well as identifying some of the sector's rising stars and new entrants.
Craig Thompson, Head of Agriculture & Countryside at Myerscough, said: ‘’Matt faced some stiff competition back in December where students had to produce a report and give a presentation.
‘’It’s a fantastic achievement to get so far, and the first time a Myerscough student has got so far. Well done, Matt!’’
The judging panel consisted of RABDF vice-chairs Di Wastenage and Robert Craig, Mole Valley Farmers' James Hague and Chloe Cross from Kite Consulting.
Commenting, Mr Craig said: "The competition produced a very high calibre of entries making for a difficult final choice.
"The optimism and enthusiasm towards the industry are clear to see from the applicants, and it is encouraging for the sector's future success.
"All of this year's finalists were outstanding and had a clear grasp on the future challenges of the sector and what needs to be done to overcome them.
"It was hard to shortlist the final two, but Matthew put forward some sound ideas on what farms could be doing to improve efficiencies as well working towards net-zero targets. Their presentations were well-considered and showed a clear understanding of the complexities of the industry.’’
Mr Hague, Head of Agriculture at Mole Valley Farmers, added: "Mole Valley Farmers is delighted to sponsor the Dairy Student of the Year award and our congratulations go to Matthew. He delivered an excellent presentations with a clear understanding of the challenges and complexities facing the industry and, importantly, the many opportunities that also present themselves.
"All of the finalists demonstrated we have students of the highest calibre entering the industry, which is really encouraging.
Chloe Cross from Kite Consulting added: “This year the finalists spoke of the immense opportunities that we can pursue, albeit with challenges on the horizon, we are a strong network and these finalists proved that outright.”
Jack Cordery, CEO of Mole Valley Farmers, said: ‘’It is crucial we encourage, develop and promote high calibre people coming into the industry. We need young people who understand and can work to develop innovative and practical solutions to the technical and management challenges of modern dairy farming.
"This is probably more important than ever, as we need to not only help our farmers in terms of productivity and profitability, but now increasingly with the challenge of sustainability at the forefront of our thinking."