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Student triumphs at national farm health awards

Published: February 21, 2018

Duchy College Duchy Stoke Climsland

A student has won a prestigious award presented at a new national event focussed on farm health.


Holly Yelland from near Okehampton, a student on Duchy College’s BSc (Hons) Rural Business Management course, won the Farm Health Management Award at the first national Dairy-Tech event at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry in February.


She triumphed in the category for students studying agriculture at colleges across Britain.


“I was thrilled to win the award and be able to visit the first Dairy-Tech event,” said Holly.


“I utilised the theory of farm health planning from my studies along with the practical side I deal with on a daily basis through my part-time role working in farm assurance with farmers.”


The competition, organised by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) to raise the awareness of the importance of proactive farm health planning among younger members of the industry, is sponsored by Volac.


The entrants had to prepare a 1500-word essay demonstrating their understanding of proactive health planning. They were asked to identify the barriers to adopting such a strategy and how to overcome those issues to improve heath and profitability. Students undertook the task as part of their course and Holly was one of three chosen to represent the College.


It was judged by a panel of John Owen, Gelli Aur College farm manager, a vet, Oli Hodgkinson and Award Chairman, John Sumner.


“The standard of entries, whether agriculture or veterinary students, was of an extremely high order and we had difficulty placing the finalists,” John said.


“I can vouch for this, as I have been involved in the competition since 2007,” commented John.


He also announced that Duchy College had the highest success rate of any College or University over the duration of the competition.


Holly produced an excellent piece of work using Bovine Viral Diarrhoea, as an example of a disease, where preventative health panning is key to its prevention and control, according to the judges.


She also highlighted the barriers to uptake of proactive farm heath planning by farmers and suggested practical ways to overcome them.


Paul Ward of the Rural Business School said Holly “did very well” to win the award, “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’ with farm vets and the livestock sector across the south west,” he continued.

“This is illustrated by the fact that the approaches to the prevention and control of both Johne’s disease and BVD, piloted in the south west have now been adopted at national level.”


Dr Jurie Intachat, Programme Manager for the course and the Higher Education Team Lead for Rural Economy at the College, added it was “an excellent opportunity for students to apply knowledge gained from their studies and develop innovative but realistic solutions”.


“We aim to develop our students’ professional skills and to see that they have achieved this through such competitions is an honour,” she added.

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