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Date: 25th October 2018

Askham Bryan College graduate Sam Coote is celebrating after being crowned the winner of a prestigious national farming competition.

Photo courtesy of Richard Stanton

He took the top title in the 2018 Farmers Apprentice organised by Farmers Weekly, having made his way from an initial pool of 250 applicants through to an intense final week of tasks.

Sam, whose home is in Spennymoor, Co. Durham, battled against eight other contestants on bootcamp-style challenges as varied as fitting an autosteer system to a tractor to delivering a presentation to primary school pupils.

He took home a cash prize of £10,000 to invest in his farming future and his success is all the more creditable as the 22-year -old is not from a farming background.

Catherine Dixon, Askham Bryan College’s Chief Executive said: “We are absolutely thrilled at Sam’s success which is richly deserved. He is a credit not only to himself, but also to Askham Bryan and clearly has bright future ahead.

The Farmers Apprentice is a superb way of highlighting the incredible skills and knowledge that young people need to take the industry forward. Sam, and fellow Askham Bryan finalist Harry Madin, have without a doubt demonstrated impressive ability and their passion for agriculture.”

A residential student, Sam graduated in July with a first in Agricultural Management and was encouraged to take part in the competition by his tutor, Fiona Macdonald. He is no stranger to success having achieved Askham Bryan College’s Student of the Year Awards twice during his five years at the York-based campus.

Throughout his diploma and degree studies, Sam gained practical experience working near his home on a mixed beef and arable family farm – LR Welsh  & Company. He also developed his leadership skills as Chairman and Treasurer of the Durham City Young Farmers Club. He is currently working on a sheep and beef farm in New Zealand.

Farmers Weekly Editor, Karl Schneider said: “Sam was a great candidate who performed consistently well throughout the week. We were particularly impressed with his calm good-sense, his adaptability and his sheer determination to get the job done. He is clearly a very bright young man, but he's also got a good feel for the more practical challenges of farming and works very well with machinery and livestock. And he's a great team worker, with very good inter-personal and communications skills. On top of all that, Sam is simply a very nice young man - a pleasure to work with."

Fellow finalist 21-year-old Harry Madin from Derbyshire also gave an excellent account of himself. Mr Schneider said: “Harry was a strong contender for the Farmers Apprentice 2018 title. He performed particularly well on the livestock tasks and he also impressed the judges with his methodical approach on the machinery challenges.

“More than 250 people applied to take part in Farmers Apprentice 2018.  Askham Bryan can be justifiably proud to have two such talented students make it to the final."

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Askham Bryan College,
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