Duchy College student Louise wins national Farm Health Management Award

Thursday 19th May 2022 7:00 am
Award-winning Duchy College student Louise Harrison with Paul Ward, the college’s Rural Business School and programme manager.
Award-winning Duchy College student Louise Harrison with Paul Ward, the college’s Rural Business School and programme manager. (Picture: Cornwall College Group )

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CORNWALL College has announced that one of its students at its Duchy College campus in South East Cornwall has won a national award.

Louise Harrison, who is studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture at Duchy College Stoke Climsland, beat a bumper number of entries to win this year’s Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) Farm Health Management Award for students at agricultural colleges sponsored by Volac.

The award aims to demonstrate and test the students’ knowledge of the importance of proactive farm health management – a vital element of the new Agriculture Act.

Louise won the agricultural college category after submitting a 1,500-word essay on proactive farm health management and won a £500 cash prize. Entrants were asked to identify the barriers to adopting such a strategy and how to overcome those issues to improve heath and profitability.

Commenting on the winners, competition judge, RABDF Council Member and Gelli Aur College Farm Manager John Owen said: “The agricultural colleges’ submissions continue to impress us with excellent entries, and this year was no exception. Louise showed that she was very proactive and hands-on in her understanding of the issues and she demonstrated her knowledge with very good examples.”

Louise said: “I was surprised and delighted to be announced as a winner at the awards ceremony at Dairy-Tech. The research that I carried out for this essay increased my awareness of the importance and consequences of taking a holistic approach to farm health management with the focus being ‘prevention better than cure.”

“Using farm health planning, not as a pointless tick box exercise, but proactively as a management tool to recognise and address weaknesses in a system, promotes improved health and welfare, reduces antibiotic usage, and increases farm business profitability.

“Studying on the BSc (Hons) Agriculture course at Duchy has offered a great opportunity for me to develop an all-round knowledge of agriculture. The timetable structure encourages students to gain experience through work as well as study and I have gained valuable experience working in the dairy sector throughout my time at Duchy.”

Paul Ward, Duchy College Rural Business School and programme manager, commented: “Louise did very well to win, producing an essay of top quality. This reflects the expertise that Duchy College and, in particular, the Rural Business School, has built up as a result of running successful knowledge exchange programmes such as ‘Healthy Livestock’ and ‘BVD – Stamp It Out’ with farm vets and the livestock sector across the South West.”

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