After her achievements at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, followed by her scholarship success, Hannah Baldwin has truly made the most of her time at Harper Adams. The BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science student had always known she had a passion for livestock but, not coming from a farming background, was unsure on the best way to access a career in the agricultural industry. Now in her final year, Hannah has worked in a variety of different fields and has truly thrived throughout her studies, knowing exactly where she envisions her future career.
Hannah explained her initial interest in agriculture: “I’ve always loved cows but hadn’t ever considered I could work with them on a day to day basis. I studied a variety of A-Levels for a different career path but ultimately changed my mind on where they were leading me. Therefore I decided I should follow my true passions to work in a field I really love.”
Hannah spoke about coming from a non-farming background and having to make higher education decisions, saying: “Before committing to a degree course, I thought it wise to work towards some other qualifications to get a feel for agricultural studies. I gained a Level 3 extended diploma at college where I gained more of an insight into crops, farm business management and other areas of agricultural work.
“Despite all of this, I knew livestock was the thing I cared about most, especially after working with a family friend and her herd. With this in mind, having the specialism of animal science seemed the perfect choice.
“Through word of mouth, I found Harper and really centred my efforts into securing my place. The facilities were great when I first visited and continue to improve. The staff are very welcoming. I just knew I could see myself being happy here - I’ll be sad to graduate and leave!”
Hannah has not felt any setbacks coming from a non-farming background. In fact, it has motivated her to work even hard and take on every challenge to widen her knowledge and experience. She said: “It has been through various work experience opportunities that I’ve had the chance to work with livestock in all manner of ways. For example, I got into shows because of a farmer who pushed me to give it a go. This was a result of being introduced to Young Handlers where I qualified and won Young Stockperson of the Year. All of this allowed me to travel to Toronto for our show there which was so different to anything I’ve ever done before.
“Everything has just been incredible! I’ve been given so much help and advice to take part in these opportunities which has only made me more passionate about livestock.”
Now in her final year, Hannah is thinking about life outside of Harper and how her degree knowledge will matter in the working world. She commented: “In the long term, I would love to be working on a livestock farm. I just want to be out in my overalls on the farm and being hands on. It’s just what I love doing! It would also be great to have some cows to show in my spare time - that would be the ideal situation.”
Thankful for her opportunities, Hannah said: “Agriculture has been the path that has led me to all these experiences and now I’ve got to keep pushing and take on the challenges to reach my goals.”
With her wealth experience, Hannah offered her advice to other students looking at undertaking an agriculture degree who may not come from a traditional farming background: “Make the most of everything at Harper. There are so many opportunities through scholarships and placements where you’re backed by a reputable institution of world class teaching. What more could you ask for?
“Equally, be keen to learn. Although it might seem easier to choose a placement company that is in your comfort zone, I’d really advocate for trying something new. I worked on a poultry farm as something I wouldn’t ordinarily have access to; I did enjoy the experience but it definitely confirmed that I love cows and sheep the best. Now I can say with certainty that I made the right choice.”
Should you be interested in a career in agriculture, you can see how our degree courses can help you achieve this here. You can also join us on our open day, March 21, to find out more about all the possible ways agriculture could be the degree that matters for you. You can register your interest below.