Lizzie Bradley, 23, from Lanchester, Co Durham, is a Harper Adams graduate and has worked at some of the biggest dairy shows in the world.
I have grown up on my family farm in Co Durham, where we milk 125 pedigree Holsteins under the Langpark prefix. This, alongside attending Butsfield Young Farmers’ Club and Holstein Young Breeders (HYB), has enabled me to develop my passion for agriculture from a young age.
In 2013 I attended Askham Bryan College to complete a national diploma in agriculture, before studying a BSc (Hons) in agriculture at Harper Adams University.
I spent my placement year in 2018/2019 working for AB Europe assisting with ewe flushing and AI, as well as ram semen collection and freezing.
Also, in the past few years I have been helping out with lambing about 900 ewes in Lauder, Scotland.
HYB and YFC have helped me develop many skills, presenting me with many new challenges and opportunities.
At a young age, I began showing at our local Holstein club, starting from the bottom with our human hair clippers and a hairbrush to clip our calves.
The closure of the Northumbria Holstein Club’s calf show meant we were unable to show our calves, so I used this as an opportunity to help others, such as Marleycote Ayrshires and Littlebridge Holsteins.
The experiences I gained with these herds proved invaluable and eventually encouraged me to begin showing at home again and I now compete at multiple shows annually. This year has been our most successful yet, with our first champion calf.
Showing is my biggest passion and has enabled me to travel and work at some of the biggest dairy shows in the world. In 2017, I was selected by Mastergen to work at the Schau Der Besten show in Germany.
The experience was topped off by leading the top price calf at the show’s sale, where 40,000 people were in attendance. The following year, Semex gave me the opportunity to travel to Toronto and work at The Royal Winter Fair on the walk of fame, which was another incredible experience.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, milk prices have been a huge challenge for dairy farmers, with our price being 19.5ppl for May alongside price reductions for above average production.
However, imports make up a huge percentage of the dairy market, with 98 per cent of baby milk powder, 50,000 tonnes of mozzarella and 183,000t of yoghurt being imported annually.
Jamie Oliver’s support of the NFU food standards petition is also hugely positive for the industry, with his elevated profile allowing the general public to become aware of the varying food standards in different countries.
I think Covid-19 has reinforced the importance of domestic food production and I believe the UK should become more self-sufficient, instead of being so dependent on imports, especially following Brexit.