Andrew Taylor, a second year student studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture at Scotland’s Rural College in Ayr has won the prestigious Dairy Student of the Year competition.
He beat fourteen other entrants from universities and colleges around Britain to win the award, presented by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers and Agri Business recruitment company De Lacy.
Andrew, from a dairy farm at Mauchline in Ayrshire, was presented with a £1,000 cash prize by De Lacy Executive, while Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) received £500 towards a dairying educational project.
Andrew was accompanied to London by Senior tutor Dr Jan Connell. On receiving his award Andrew said:
“I am absolutely ecstatic and honoured to receive this award. It has provided me with great self-recognition which will help to open doors when I eventually graduate. I am particularly keen to gain experience travelling and working with herds in Canada and the US, as well as in the UK before I eventually return home to progress and expand the family herd.”
The Taylors, including Andrew’s father Alistair and Grandfather Jim, farm at Lochhill with a 70 cow flying dairy herd and a 40 cow suckler beef herd. They finish 150 head of dairy and beef cattle annually. Andrew is currently developing his own closed Holstein herd.
Andrew’s journey to the London final of the national RABDF/De Lacy Dairy Student of the Year competition began in February when he travelled to Cheshire to be interviewed by three judges keen to know his views on the balance sheet and other management details of a Shropshire dairy farm. Success there took him and six others to the London HQ of industry body Dairy UK where he gave a 10 minute presentation on “The British Dairy Industry - Where are we now and what challenges will we face in the next ten years?”. His performance guaranteed him a place in the final (on Friday 28 March) at the Farmers Club in Whitehall. There he had to speak for 15 minutes on a topic of his choice, “Longevity and Fertility in the Dairy Cow”.
Andrew is the second student from the Ayr campus of SRUC to win the award. In 2012 Grace Smith, a final year Animal Science student from Sanquhar in Dumfriesshire, took the title. Andrews other four finalists came from Bishop Burton College, Harper Adams University and University of Newcastle.
Janet Swadling, Acting Chief Executive of SRUC said:
“Andrew deserves hearty congratulations. He was competing against some outstanding students from colleges and universities across the UK and has represented SRUC with great credit. He has the enthusiasm and passion the industry is seeking in its leaders.”
Speaking before travelling to London, Andrew had played down his chance of winning, describing the other finalists as impressive. Following his success he was equally modest.
“During the competition it has been great to meet and share with other likeminded finalists,” he said, adding: “I have real confidence that the dairy industry has a great future. Milk and dairy products are highly nutritious and are in growing demand from an expanding global population.”
De Lacy Executive’s graduate recruitment consultant, Grace Nugent said:
“The contestants throughout have been excellent and we congratulate them all, in particular the overall winner, Andrew Taylor, as fine examples of what the younger generation has to offer throughout the country. The older generation can move aside in complete confidence that the industry is in very good hands for the challenges and opportunities of the future.”
RABDF Chief Executive, Nick Everington said:
“Rewarding success and achievement, and promoting career opportunities in the dairy sector are key activities for our association. This particular award helps to identify some of the most intelligent and highly motivated young producers who we are confident will help to secure the future for British dairy farming.”
For further information contact Andrew Taylor on 07815 017860, or Nick Everington (RABDF) on 0845 458 2711 / 07909 977994.
Photo caption (L-R): RABDF Chief Exec Nick Everington, Grace Nugent (De Lacy), Andrew Taylor, Dr Jan Connell (SRUC).