A CHARD goat farmer has been named as Dairy Farmer of the Year 2019 at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Will Frost picked up the gong at the Farmers Weekly Awards in a move that acknowledges the role of goat farmers in the UK's dairy industry.

He was presented with award at a ceremony held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, last Thursday (October 3).

Will has been a regular, trusted supplier to Delamere Dairy for more than seven years working as part of a collective to produce goats’ milk for the company which is then used to produce its goats’ milk, yogurts, cheese and butter which is sold nationwide and in export markets.

Ed Salt, managing director of Delamere Dairy, said: “Will is an exemplary farmer producing milk of the highest standard.

"We value all our long-term relationships with our farmers and foster collaborative working practices that benefit all parties.

"It is fantastic that his approach has been recognised by the dairy industry and a milestone for the goats’ milk industry to be acknowledged in this way.”

The Somerset farm has a herd of 2,500 goats and has invested extensively over recent years to develop the business, reward and retain his team and reduce sickness and mortality rates amongst the herd.

Will has also looked at emerging markets and responded to the need for sustainability and less waste within the goat dairy industry looking at growing opportunities for meat and breeding stock with an investment in goat meat wholesaler Cabrito.

“Will’s drive and ambition are evident throughout his business," said independent judge Andy Dodd, from the Farm Consultancy Group.

"He has built a strong and loyal team that strives to achieve the highest standards of health and welfare across their goat flock with solutions and ideas that would be well placed on any UK dairy farm."