Edward Williams, a 28 year-old dairy farmer from near Barnsley in Yorkshire, has won the Cream Awards’ Young Farmer of the Year award, sponsored by New Holland Agriculture in recognition of his exceptional work on his family’s dairy farm during tough economic times and challenging family circumstances.
Following his father’s passing, Edward took over the responsibility for managing the day-to-day tasks on the dairy farm. This included managing a project, on budget and on time, to increase the dairy herd size from 134 to 165, while significantly improving the performance of the herd with a milk yield uplift of 1,300 litres per cow and improved fertility rates.
During this difficult period, Edward also made silage that won the local grassland’s silage competition and was a runner-up in the National competition. He has also helped to improve the farm’s profitability by running a Maize Maze – one of the longest running in the country – which attracts visitors during the summer.
Edward was delighted with the award win and is keen to encourage more young farmers to get involved in the dairy industry. He said: “Everything I’ve done during the past few years has been to improve the business, so it’s always fantastic to receive the recognition for this work. Dairy cows are at the heart of my family’s business and is ultimately where my passion lies. My long-term ambition is to increase the size of the herd to help secure the long-term future of the business.”
When asked about the future of young people in dairy farming, Edward replied: “The average age in farming is still relatively high. The industry needs young farmers. We can bring new ideas and skillsets which can help find innovative solutions to difficult challenges.”
Graham Radford, a 23 year-old dairy farmer from Devon, was highly commended in the Young Farmer of the Year award category due to his proactive and innovative approach to cow health. Working closely with his vet and a programme of six-weekly cell count testing he managed to reduce the incidence of mastitis in the herd. Graham also sought his vet’s advice when the family-owned farm installed three Lely robotic milking machines in 2013. Productivity from the 150 head dairy herd has since increased from 8,500 litres to around 10,000 litres per year.
Through its sponsorship of the Young Farmer of the Year award, New Holland is keen to highlight the quality and quantity of work being done by young farmers and the important role that they play in the dairy industry.
James Ashworth, New Holland’s Marketing Manager, said: “We are proud to support the next generation of farmers and champion their work through initiatives such as this award. Both finalists would have been deserving winners, but Edward stood out due to his hard work and sheer determination to improve his family’s farm business despite economic and personal challenges.”
He continued: “Graham and Edward are fantastic examples of young farmers that are bringing innovation and enthusiasm to their farms. Not only are they improving the productivity of their dairy herds, they are improving the profitability of their farm businesses. We need bright young people like these to inspire the next generation of dairy farmers.”
Edward Williams was announced as the winner of the Cream Awards’ Young Farmer of the Year at the awards ceremony which took place on Thursday 17th September at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham.