A YOUNG dairy farmer, who trained at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester, has been crowned Agricultural Student of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony, thanks to an innovative idea.

Alex Dunn, 21, picked up the accolade at the 2018 Farmers Weekly awards partly because of an app that she created to raise farm safety standards. The app won the RAU’s own Grand Idea competition for young entrepreneurs where judges included Levi Roots of Reggae Reggae Sauce and Julian Dunkerton co-founder of Superdry.

The dairy farmer from Berkshire, who graduated from the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester this summer, was singled out by judges for her “entrepreneurial flair, her drive to gain experience and dedication to improving agriculture’s safety record”.

Leaving the RAU with a first-class degree in Agriculture, Alex is now in New Zealand working with a family of dairy farmers, after winning the Richard Wigram Scholarship which invites students to visit the country to learn and share best practice.

She told Farmers Weekly: “Poor health and safety in agriculture is a deep-rooted problem that needs a solution. This app would help to protect staff and visitors by changing attitudes towards health and safety and promoting best practice.”

Speaking of her time at the RAU, Alex said: “The University’s Enterprise Society really helped me to develop my ideas, as well as a proof of concept and a business plan that was really scalable. What excites me most about the business is to be able to make a difference in the industry."

She added: "The University helps you develop any business idea you’ve got, whether it’s related to the agricultural industry or not.”

Professor Joanna Price, Vice-Chancellor of the RAU said: “Helping out on a local mixed livestock smallholding as a teenager fostered Alex’s love of the industry. She is a great role model for those who are not from a traditional farming background who may want to study a land-based subject.”