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Stackyard News Oct 07

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RABDF/Defra Farm Health Planning Award 2007

Richard Pye, an FdSc Agriculture student studying at Myerscough College has received the RABDF/Defra Farm Health Planning Award, a new awareness raising initiative for younger members of the industry.

Richard Pye receives the RABDF / Defra Farm Health Planning Award from left, RABDF chairman, Lyndon Edwards and independent consultant, John Sumner.

Health Planning Award

At a presentation at the Farmers Club, London, today, Friday 19 October, Richard was awarded a £500 cash prize by Defra, and the college he represented received £500 towards a farm health planning project.

A £50 cash prize and certificate was presented to each of the three other finalists short-listed for the award: Alex Baines studying BSc Hons Agriculture and Business Management at Writtle College; William Wood, a 2007 FdSc Agriculture with Livestock Technologies graduate, Myerscough College and Robert Yarwood, HNC Dairy Herd Management, Reaseheath College.

The award was introduced this year as part of the industry / Defra partnership’s Farm Health Planning initiative. Open to students studying at an agriculture college in England, the entrants were required to prepare a 1,500 word essay demonstrating their understanding of proactive farm health planning on dairy and or beef units. They were asked to identify the current barriers to adopting such a strategy and how to overcome those issues in their quest to improve herd health and profitability. The essays were judged by a panel featuring three representatives on the FHP working group: farmer, David Sansome; vet in practice, Andrew Praill and independent consultant, John Sumner.

“Each of the finalists showed a good understanding of the issues for consideration and were not short of ideas for improving the uptake of proactive health planning,” commented Mr Sumner. “However, Richard had the winning edge with an essay which placed a strong emphasis on disease prevention and demonstrated his practical experience of managing health plans on his family’s Lancashire dairy farm based at Quernmore, near Lancaster.

“Furthermore, Richard supported his arguments with relevant and up to date research and statistics. The judges were also impressed with his understanding of why more farmers don't currently practice proactive health planning and he offered some innovative ideas for overcoming such barriers.”

RABDF chairman, Lyndon Edwards added: “This new award, targeted at the next generation of dairy and beef producers, is an important step in the challenge of getting more farmers to recognise the value of proactive health planning. Apart from meeting the requirements of retailers and consumers who rightly expect good standards of animal health and welfare, achieving and maintaining high levels of herd health reduces costs and improves the profitability of the business. Therefore, it is vital for the next farming generation to grasp the opportunity offered by proactive health planning which will help to ensure their sustainability in an ever increasing competitive food industry.”

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