Young Farmer of the Year Finalist Profiles
Abi Reader, E Reader & Sons
Abi is a partner in the third generation mixed farm family business, focusing primarily on dairy. She graduated from the Royal Agricultural University with a BSC Honours degree and MBA in Agriculture. In addition to playing a very active role on the farm she is also extremely involved in farming in the community and on a national and global platform.
In 2015-16 she became part of the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation and was appointed to the NFU National Dairy Board. She took part in the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Oxford Farming Conference, championing Welsh women farmers. In 2018 Abi attended a management exchange trip to Germany to look at farm biosecurity, after which she shared learnings with colleagues back in the UK. She was also awarded an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Society. Abi has been involved in trials working towards better use of antibiotics and these have been shared through Farming Connect. She also takes a big interest in the environment and wildlife and works with local schools and clubs to promote this and encourages interest amongst young children.
Abi co-founded Cowsontour in 2014 – a voluntary group of farmers who take over a school for the day and talk about food and farming. This year they organised a roadshow around Wales – seven days, 16 schools, over 2,000 schoolchildren! For all of this and much more Abi was awarded this year, a muchdeserved MBE for services to farming.
Gemma Smale-Rowland, South Hellesciott Farm
Gemma’s enthusiasm for the industry is contagious and something that makes her stand out as a great ambassador for dairy farming, she has large volumes of passion, drive and determination to make positive change.
Primarily she works with her family on the 350-acre dairy farm, in Launceston, Cornwall, but the majority of any spare time is devoted to promoting the future of British farming and best practice, both nationally and globally. She achieves this by applying her principles to the family farm, but then also sharing them through national advisory groups and boards. She is prepared to make time to contribute to policy development, next generation farmers, management with children and the public, along with key roles on the national dairy board, club leader for Young Farmers, Red Tractor TAC board, past Dairy Crest Forum Board member and being awarded RABDF Entrepreneur in dairy & Worshipful Company of Farmers scholar.
Gemma works tirelessly on the farm to reduce antibiotic usage and improve disease control and as a business it were the only herd to twice achieve 100% on the Dairy Crest Farm Standards. Gemma is always looking at new technological advances to improve the business and recently introduced the milk vending machine, which helps the public engage with where their milk comes from. Cornish Moo, Gemma’s new business, opened in February 2019 and is already taking the industry by storm.