Agriculture is a vast and dynamic industry that offers a wide range of opportunities for both study and careers. Whether your interest lies in working with crops and farmers; designing the latest technology; or being part of a business strategy, there is a real variety of experiences to be had between field and fork. To get a flavour for what the industry is like, our third-year students undertake a placement year to develop the skill set their degree has provided them with so far. One such student is Annabel Beaumont, who is currently studying BSc (Hons) Agri-Business and learning a set of skills that can be widely applied to all elements of the agricultural industry.
We spoke to Annabel about what inspired her studies. She explained: "I did not grow up on a farm, but my family have been involved with industry for many years. My father was involved in the food processing industry; my grandfather worked at a slaughterhouse and as a procurement manager purchasing cattle; and my great grandfather a pig breeder and finisher of large white, middle white, land race, saddle back and large black breeds. You could say farming is in my blood."
With this family history in mind, Annabel is looking to pursue a similar career path in her own way. She said: "I aspire to work within agri-food marketing, with a primary aim of promoting local and British produce. I want to inspire farmers and growers to succeed in the changing environment post-Brexit to produce high quality food products and to reassure consumers that British produce can be trusted time and time again.
"My ideal position would be a public relations or marketing specialist for an organisation such as the NFU or AHDB, promoting campaigns such as Back British Farming. I'd ideally like to be developing and producing different types of advertising and media to promote these campaigns."
To achieve these aims, Annabel's undertaking her work experience as a marketing assistant. She spoke about her role and the opportunities she's had, saying: "My placement role involves the marketing of events like the British Pig & Poultry Fair and Grassland & Muck. I have really enjoyed working on my placement so far and I have still got so much more to learn.
"With the two events I am working on coming up in May, I can’t wait to see the hard work our team has put in to run these two huge industry events within two weeks. I am learning new things every day and the small team I work with are so knowledgeable and dedicated to their jobs - they've really inspired me. We deal with over 400 different companies who exhibit at both events and it is really an eye opener to see so many different businesses which play a vital role in the agricultural industry.
"I think my biggest challenge on my placement is yet to come as we have been planning everything for both events. It’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle and we are putting pieces in every day and building up the picture right until the live days."
Annabel's various experiences have been partly funded by her scholarships. She was awarded the Ashby de la Zouch Agricultural Society scholarship as well as John Longwill Agricultural scholarship, the latter awarded through The Development Trust. She advises others to apply for scholarships as they have given her many experiences that have broadened her horizons and given her the chance to try new things that helped her to achieve more going forward.
Scholarships, placement opportunities and networking are all great ways to make the most of your time at Harper. To hear from other agriculture students about their experiences, please click here.