Isla Soutter, 19, from Leicestershire, is a National Hereford and English Winter Fair young handlers champion and recently competed in the World Hereford Conference in New Zealand.
I am in my first year at Harper Adams University, studying Agriculture with Animal Science. I have been born and bred on a farm and have always had a passion for cattle.
Originally brought up on a Limousin farm at Whinfell Park in Cumbria, I have now changed to Herefords four years ago in Leicestershire, being associated with Normanton Herefords, and I have showed cattle of all breeds since I was 8 years old.
Young handlers competitions
I have won many young handlers competitions including: three times National Hereford polled show champion and English Winter Fair champion.
I am heavily involved within the Youth programme of the Limousin and Hereford Societies. Including showing and stock judging competitions and training workshop weekends.
World Hereford Conference
With being brought up on Pedigree farms, I am very interested in how pedigree breeding can fit within the commercial industry.
With having returned from my trip to New Zealand to compete in the World Hereford Conference, I was lucky enough to be picked to join the Danish team. There were 7 different countries competing with 9 teams entered.
As a result, we came 5th overall and the highest European scoring team. I was very grateful to have plenty of help from some wonderful sponsors.
Additionally, we went and visited pedigree farms in the north and south island, which were run very commercially.
These farms were very different to the typical British farm, as cattle are outside all year round and have on farm sales.
These farms are much bigger in size and numbers than the average farm in the UK. Maternal instincts and figures are a big factor along with health.
Within these difficult times we are facing, it is a struggle for pedigree breeders to sell their livestock.
Additionally, these animals would be taken to auctions to be sold however farmers have no option but to advertise and sell their livestock over the Internet and privately off farm.
In the future, we will need technology in practicality to suit pedigree and commercial breeders. As part of my course at University I would like to learn how we, as pedigree breeders can close the gap to the commercial aspects.