A YOUNG Yorkshire dairy farmer who was thrust to the fore of his family’s business after the death of his father, has been recognised for improving the performance of his herd.
Edward Williams, 28, who farms at Cawthorne near Barnsley, has been named the winner of the Cream Awards’ Young Farmer of the Year award, sponsored by New Holland Agriculture.
Following his father Jim’s passing in 2013, Mr Williams took over the responsibility for managing the day-to-day tasks on the dairy farm which included managing a project to increase the dairy herd size from 134 to 165, while 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, he 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.
Mr Williams said he was looking forward to his farming future, despite the volatility of the milk price which is currently, on average, 23.35 pence per litre (ppl) - down from 31.51ppl at the same time a year ago.
“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,” Mr Williams said.
“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.”
He urged more young people to try farming careers, saying: “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.”
James Ashworth, marketing manager at award sponsor New Holland, said Mr Williams stood out from the competition due to his hard work and sheer determination to improve his family’s farm business despite economic and personal challenges.