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How can I break into agriculture?

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14 November 2019

Here at Harper Adams, we encourage students from all walks of life to get involved in the farming sector. Whether you grew up on a farm or out in the suburbs, if agriculture is your passion, you can participate in a degree that matters. Rosa Linkens, a fourth year agriculture student, made the break into farming from an urban background.

“I’ve always been an outdoors person,” she said, “but coming from a town, it’s hard to experience farming for real.” Although coming from a background of English, History, Biology and PE at A Level, Rosa had a passion and went on to pursue it. “My parents have a friend that works on a dairy farm who invited me to undertake work experience, just to get an idea of whether it was something I definitely wanted to go into.”

Having never worked on a farm before, Rosa wasn’t sure what to expect, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience, going onto several placements ranging between three weeks and three months before starting at Harper Adams. “It gave me a real snapshot; a flavour of everything so I had some knowledge coming into my course.”

She advised prospective students to do the same saying, “Go for it. Just because you haven’t come from a farm, you might think you won't fit in, but you’ll have a different but equally useful skill set. It hasn’t held me back in any way.”

While her favourite work placement experience before Harper was with a poultry farm, taking BSc (Hons) Agriculture gave her a broader understanding of agriculture as a whole. “The holistic approach to the course is great. I wasn’t sure which section of farming I wanted to go into, and now I have a solid foundation of the sector as a whole. We’re being taught cutting edge research and best practice so I feel ready for anything.”

Now, Rosa knows exactly where she wants to be after her degree. Having spent her placement year at Fawley Farms in Seaton, Devon, Rosa is now incredibly passionate about outdoor pig farming and educating others about the topic. “What drew me to pig farming is that it’s an industry that not many others are interested in. There’re a lot of opportunities for those from a non-farming background as they prefer a fresh set of eyes, without preconceptions.”

Working on her dissertation in collaboration with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) on recruitment in the pig industry, Rosa is seeking to educate those with a similar background to herself on how they can get into farming too. Building strong networks is part of this mission, as knowing people has helped  Rosa gain a range of experiences that she would not have had otherwise.

If you want to find out more about a degree that matters, visit us on our Open Day by registering here.

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