Devon-based producer Sophie Bould-Lynch has won the West Country Dairy Awards, scooping the top prize of £2,000 to spend on training and development.
Sophie works at her partner’s dairy and beef unit, in Buckland Monachorum, and also relief milks for two other dairy herds.
She balances this with studying at Duchy College, where she is just about to top up a two-year foundation course in Agriculture to degree level. And she is also secretary for South Dartmoor Young Farmers’ Club.
“I’m very grateful and extremely pleased. The first thing I will do is go home and tell my family and then look up a foot trimming course,” she said, on hearing she’d won the competition.
The awards were established in the 1920s to provide grants for people studying dairy-related training courses. Today, the charitable organisation distributes around £18,000 each year to people of all ages who are looking to develop their dairying skills.
This year’s awards were sponsored by more than 20 industry partners, including Mole Valley Farmers, who provided the venue for the final judging process at their office in South Molton, Devon.
The awards are open to anyone living in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. This year’s three other finalists were: Nicholas Hill, of Tavistock, Devon; Holly Vickery, of Wincanton, Somerset; and Imogen Greenway, of Taunton, Somerset.
It was a close run competition, but it was 21-year-old Sophie who stood out to due to her overwhelming enthusiasm and energy.
All the finalists were described by the judging panel as ‘the cream of the crop’, with the runners up also receiving £1,000 each to spend on dairy-related training.