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Stackyard News Jul 09

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Semex Appoints Second Sandwich Student Field Evaluator

After the success of the first Semex Promate field evaluator sandwich student placement, the company has appointed its second student – Stephanie Whittaker – to the position.

Stephanie Whittaker

Stephanie Whittaker

She replaces Jennie Booth in July, who returns to Harper Adams for her final year in September.

Stephanie is currently in the third year of her BA (Hons) degree in Business Management at Leeds Metropolitan University, and has a keen interest in agriculture and dairy cows. She has worked as an assistant herdsman at her family’s well known pedigree Knowlesmere herd in Shrewsbury for several years, and understands the need to continually improve the next generation of dairy animals.

Her role as a Promate field evaluator will involve her looking at individual dairy cows, and determining how her daughter’s can be improved by the best corrective mating. The information is then fed into the Promate computer program and this determines the best four sires to improve the desired traits. The program also reduces in-breeding losses. Stephanie will also play a role in expanding the company’s rapidly developing ai24 fertility and health management programme, which includes Promate and the technologically advanced ai24 Heatime automatic fertility detection and health monitoring system.

“Jennie has been a fantastic asset for us and has built-up a strong customer base and following with farmers,” says Gordon Miller, Semex MD. “She will be a hard act to follow, and I thank her for her contribution to our business. But it is clear Stephanie knows cows, loves cows, and wants to make a positive contribution to the industry. I’m confident she will do a fantastic job for us and our customers, and I welcome her to the company.”

Mr Miller also believes that his company has created an extremely valuable training asset for the dairy industry via the sandwich student position. This offers a position every year for a student, which will help bridge the gap between further education and the dairy industry career ladder.

“As an industry we need to encourage the next generation, companies like ours have an essential role to play in facilitating new opportunities by investing and supporting those keen young people who want to come into dairying.

“We think that a sandwich placement like this is an ideal starting point to gain experience. The students meet a lot of farms and farmers with a lot of different ideas, see a mixed bag of cows from the exceptional to those which need a lot of improvement, and they have to deal with a lot of different people. It is a fantastic grounding.”

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