A young Shropshire dairy farmer was celebrating today after being named top student following his completion of a two-year management course.

Matt Edwards, a grassland manager at the Sansaw Estate in Hadnall, north of Shrewsbury, was especially delighted given he doesn’t come from a farming background.

The Dairy Manager’s Academy course comprises of eight two-day courses over the course of two years. Matt, who is originally from Ellesmere Port, was awarded top student after receiving the highest grades following a series of examinations.

Individuals progress through a two-year period of training and mentoring whilst working in a full time position on the chosen dairy, with training including herd and staff management, on farm and classroom based learning, training from key industry professionals and an overseas study tour.

The course is made up of nine modules with topics ranging from ‘Cow comfort and environment’ to ‘Financial Management’, to ensure that students will be able to demonstrate that they can achieve high levels of farm business management.

Before joining the Sansaw Estate, Matt had previously worked on a family farm in Tarporley, Cheshire, where he was eventually responsible for all the fleet and cow management.

He’s come a long way from his roots however, as he hadn’t seen a cow until aged just 16.

“I didn’t grow up around farming. My dad flies birds of prey, and has done since I’ve been young, so I always enjoyed being outside with him, which is why I think I belong so well in this job,” he commented.

“When I found out I’d got the highest grades, I was shocked as I knew I hadn’t got as many years’ experience as some of the other students, and I think that’s what shocked my tutors too, but they were more pleased for me!”

James Thompson, MD of Sansaw Estate, said he was delighted with Matt’s progress.

“Matt has worked exceptionally hard since he joined us, not only in the dairy but also in his studies. He’s a talented member of the team and we’re delighted for him to receive this accolade.

“There’s no doubt he has a bright future.”