A vet student studying at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has been given an award for waxing lyrical on proactive farm health management.
Susan Carr, along with Rebecca Hodgson, a BSc agriculture student at Myerscough College, won the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) Farm Health Management Award sponsored by Volac – an awareness-raising initiative for younger members of the industry.
The annual competition – now in its 7th year – is open to agriculture, livestock and veterinary students from any course year – including postgraduate students. It requires applicants to write a 1,500-word essay on proactive farm health management – a key element of Great Britain’s animal health and welfare strategy – and the benefits it brings to animal health and welfare and farm business profitability.
Applicants are also asked to:
- demonstrate an understanding of the impact of good nutrition
- consider the environmental effects of disease and its likely impact on meat and milk quality
- comment on the overall progress of national health planning and management initiatives
- discuss the differences among the various livestock sectors and how one can learn from another
The essays were judged by a panel featuring RABDF council member and Gelli Aur College Farm manager John Owen, veterinary surgeon and former British Cattle Veterinary Association president Andrew Praill, and John Sumner, dairy consultant and award chairman.
Mr Sumner said the remit of 2014’s competition was widened to “increase the challenge” for applicants.
“It was evident from the essays that the level of understanding of the meaning and consequences of taking a proactive approach to health management continues to increase among both sets of students. Rebecca was a clear winner in the agricultural group with a well-researched and structured essay.
“It was, however, more difficult to separate vet students Emma and Susan; the latter having the edge by demonstrating good use of research and an impressive analytical approach.”
John Reynolds of Volac said: “This award has provided us with the opportunity to stress the importance of taking an holistic approach to best practice in livestock management.
“We would like to commend each of the finalists.”