RABDF Dairy Student Award launches for 2022 with winner set to receive work placement at award sponsor Mole Valley Farmers


The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers has launched its 2022 Dairy Student Award, a long-standing competition within the industry, highly regarded by peers, companies and prospective employers for highlighting some of the sectors rising stars.

The competition is sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers and takes the form of an essay response to a case study, prepared by Kite Consulting, to reflect real-life farming challenges.

To take part course leaders must nominate applicants for the award before they are able to receive the case study and prepare their response. Essays must be submitted by Thursday 4 November, after which, a panel of judges will choose six finalists to join them for a formal interview and presentation at The Farmers Club in London. Presentations must outline how the dairy industry might need to change to meet the challenges of the future.

RABDF vice-chairs Di Wastenage and Robert Craig are joined on the judging panel this year by Mole Valley’s James Hague and Chloe Cross from Kite Consulting.

Mr Craig says the competition has become distinguished across the dairy industry as a result of the high calibre of students entering each year.

“The optimism and enthusiasm towards the industry is clear to see from the applicants and is encouraging for the future success of the sector.

“We look forward to receiving this year’s entries to see the applicants suggestions as they respond to a practical case study scenario.”

Open to entrants who are studying at universities across the UK the winning student stands to take away £750 plus a six month paid placement with award sponsor Mole Valley Farmers.

Jack Cordery, CEO of Mole Valley Farmers, says the company is delighted to sponsor the Dairy Student Award again this year.

“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.

“We look forward to seeing high quality award entries and meeting the shortlisted finalists later this year.”

2021 award winner Katie Ackland, who has just started her placement at Mole Valley Farmers, explains how winning the award has helped her.

She says: “The whole competition allowed me to grow in confidence and after learning so much about the sector and wider agricultural circle from studying at Harper Adams and I felt investing time within the process would only benefit my future dairy aspirations.

“As well as giving me more confidence the award has opened up doors along the way and the chance to meet key figures in the industry.

“During my time with them Mole Valley have given me the opportunity to complete a project focusing on the future impact of the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs), a major change impacting the future agricultural sector.

“With so many challenges and opportunities currently facing the industry I think there is a lot to learn with some big sector changes. I’m hoping my placement will give me the opportunity to develop technical skills and open doors.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the award please visit www.rabdf.co.uk/dairy-student-award or call 02476 639317. The final two candidates will be invited to Dairy-Tech on Wednesday 2 February 2022 where the winner of this year’s award will be announced.