Business consultant and farmer Tony Evans was recognised for his outstanding achievements in the dairy industry with the 2018 Princess Royal Award in London this week.
The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) award recognises Mr Evans’ “honest, practical and effective” advice and work in training young, aspiring dairy farmers.
RABDF’s judging panel said Mr Evans’ work in setting up farmer co-operatives, discussion groups, joint ventures and business courses made him a deserving winner of the award.
Among Mr Evans’ flagship achievements are his involvement with the Entrepreneurs in Dairying course through Andersons and his work in organising Nuffield Dairy study tours.
Now in its fifth year, Entrepreneurs in Dairying – produced in conjunction with the AHDB, NFU and RABDF – shows students how to undertake real business budgets, business plans and a strategy to achieve 10% return on capital employed.
Mr Evans has also been involved with instructing farmers and herd managers on the AHDB Digging Deeper courses, showing operators how to run profitable and sustainable enterprises.
“One major concern I have is the way we are educating youngsters is not good enough,” Mr Evans told a House of Commons press conference, where he received the award on Tuesday (16 April).
“We are spending too much time as an industry on technical excellence and not enough on holistic management and business sense.”
Princess Royal Award
- First given in 1991 and has been awarded to 29 people
- Open to people working in the dairy sector in any capacity
- Has been awarded to farmers, researchers, vets, analysts and academics
Should have farmed sooner
In response to the question: “Have you made any mistakes?”, Mr Evans said that he should have got into farming earlier.
Mr Evans only started farming in 2007 and has since then grown his business to three block-calving units, including a once-a-day milking dairy and a recently added organic farm.
He said his upbringing in London as a dry cleaner’s son gave him a perspective of running a business without subsidy, while his career working with the Milk Marketing Board and latterly with Andersons – where he is now a partner – allowed him to learn important lessons from excellent farmers.