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Date: 31st May 2018

Charlie Smith, a final year student studying agriculture at Askham Bryan College, York is the winner of the inaugural College Challenge presented by the Beef Shorthorn Society.

Further Education students studying agriculture from colleges and universities were invited by the Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society to use multi-channel media to discuss the future of suckler beef production. Following a herd visit, finalists gave a presentation to demonstrate their understanding of the industry, the challenges it faces, and how farmers will need to respond.

Charlie began studying agriculture at Askham Bryan as a Level 2 apprentice and successfully progressed through Levels 2 and 3 and is now on the Higher Apprenticeship in Agriculture Business Management.

Catherine Dixon, Chief Executive, Askham Bryan College said: “Charlie's success is a major achievement and demonstrates his expertise and dedication as well as the support he has received from the College. This award will stand him in good stead as he continues along his career path.”

“Winning was a big surprise,” said Charlie, who hails from a suckler beef and sheep unit near Whitby. “I really enjoyed researching the sector in detail, the farm visit to find out more about the Beef Shorthorns as a functional suckler cow and then the interview experience in front of industry experts.”

He received the £1,000 award which he plans to use to travel abroad to further his farming knowledge, and the College was presented with £1,000 towards a beef educational project. This will help fund a study tour when students will visit a farm in the Scottish Borders which is growing grass for cattle by hydroponics, and also the Royal Highland Show.

The judging panel featured Morrisons Livestock and Farming Development Manager, Jodie Bolland, Deputy UK Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Graeme Cooke, Beef Shorthorn Cattle Society President, Sally Horrell and NBA Chief Executive, Chris Mallon.

Ms Bolland commented: “We were impressed by the students’ level of commitment to understanding the challenges for the beef industry, along with their passion and level of optimism for the future. Charlie Smith had the edge; he was an outstanding FE student demonstrating he knows the industry in detail. We liked the fact that following a visit to a Beef Shorthorn herd as part of the award exercise, he returned to the family farm inspired by ideas to make changes that will help towards improving its sustainability and profitability.”

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Askham Bryan College,
Askham Bryan,
YO23 3FR
01904 772277