Stacey McIlmoyle, 19, from Rasharkin, Ballymena, is a second year BSc (Hons) Agriculture student and recipient of the Cargill Pig Industry Scholarship.
“I applied for the Pig Industry scholarship at Cargill as my love for the pig sector began after successfully rearing twelve of my own Landrace pigs from ‘birth to bacon’,” says Stacey, 19, from Rasharkin, County Antrim.
“I was particularly interested in how different rations were necessary to maximise my pigs’ growth and development. My interest in animal efficiency levels has only strengthened during my time at Harper Adams University, as I appreciate that nutrition is a key factor in improving animal productivity, which is necessary to feed a growing population which is expected to increase by 30% by 2050.
“My passion to have a meaningful career within the agricultural industry was initiated by the still-dominant attitude to farming being a male only occupation in Northern Ireland. I want to prove to other females that agriculture isn’t a gender specific occupation and that we are just as capable of working with animals and handling machinery as males are,” says Stacey.
Stacey is still finding time for a range of interests outside her studies. “I have undertaken multiple jobs in my free time, including lambing at Easter and working for a large arable contractor during harvest. During my free time I enjoy cross-country running, and I’m also a member of Harper Ireland.”
Stacey is keen, too, to engage with the broader issues facing agriculture. “I am an Outreach Volunteer for the charity Rural Support. This involves me attending agricultural shows in Northern Ireland to promote the charity and explain to farmers and their families how the charity can help them with issues such as debt and business decisions regarding the future. This is all done confidentially, and information is only passed on to other members of the charity on a need to know basis.”
Cargill’s 120 year experience in animal nutrition was a persuasive factor in Stacey applying for the scholarship. “As a scholar of Cargill’s, I am confident that I will receive the necessary skills and opportunities to succeed within my chosen career path of working in the animal nutritional sector,” she adds.