First BGS & NFYFC competition winner announced

First BGS & NFYFC competition winner announced

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sarah Hurford has been named the 'BGS & NFYFC Grass Farmer for the Future' at an awards ceremony held in Fishguard on Wednesday, 23rd October. 

In September, BGS and NFYFC ran the very first grassland training day for young farmers from across England, with the support of a grant from Defra. The event was hosted by Tim Downes on his organic dairy farm in Shropshire.

The aim of the training day was to improve students and young farmers' knowledge of grassland farming. By teaching the new generation how to run a farm based on a grassland model it is possible to show how input costs can be reduced to run a more profitable and sustainable farm for the future.

The training was structured around the basics of soil and nutrient management and grassland management in a dairy situation. Grassland Farmer of the Year 2010 winner, Steve Brandon, talked about the practicalities of grassland management on his farm, as did host Tim Downes, before taking the young farmers on a farm walk to demonstrate the importance of grassland and forage crops.

Following the training, a task was set to write a business plan for a farmer in a hypothetical situation, making a huge financial losses before single farm payment. The farmer in the scenario had to work with a business manager, the young farmer, to put a plan together for the future of his farm.

Competition judges Helen Mathieu, BGS President and Piers Badnell, DairyCo were impressed with all entrants and how they used the experience gained during the training in writing their reports.  Sarah demonstrated fantastic understanding of the concepts of grassland farming and a great strategy for a successful conversion.

Sarah is from Devon and is studying BSc Agriculture at Harper Adams University, she is currently on her placement year.

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