Typically you can find Harper students jet setting around the globe, learning from the international agricultural industry before bringing their new knowledge home to the classroom and farm. However, in light of Covid-19, our students are now reflecting on past opportunities in hope of seeking out more in the future. One such student is lsla Soutter, having had a great experience in New Zealand.
The BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science student was keen to learn and explore during her first year, gaining as much knowledge as she could. As a result, she found herself heading to The World Hereford Conference to discover new information and take part in a young breeders competition. She said: “The World Hereford Conference happens every 4 years alternating in different countries. This year it was in New Zealand. It is a chance to bring people worldwide together to discuss how each country is making progress along with having guest speakers from different companies that relate to the Hereford breed.”
This year had a distinct difference as Isla explained: “A young breeders competition had been added alongside the conference. This involved teams of four from each country; totaling eleven teams this year from nine different countries, there was lots of competition!”
As a member of the UK Hereford youth group, Isla was able to take part. Keen to showcase her passion for handling, she commented: “It’s a great thing to be part of as it teaches young people about the industry; allows them to learn more skills about ring craft; and learn about the breed. It is a brilliant scheme for young people and I really recommend it.”
At the conference, Isla was initially a reserve for the UK team until she received an invitation. She shared: “The president of the society got in touch with me and asked if I’d be happy to join the Denmark team as they were looking for a 4th member. Of course I said yes!
“The young breeders competition is a week long, consisting of modules, stock judging, public speaking, showing cattle, clipping and dressing, quizzes, presentation giving and much more. I met people from all over the world and learnt about the different breeding ways in each country. We went round different studs and learnt how different the cattle are farmed. It was a phenomenal experience that I will never forget.”
Now back home, Isla is excited to start her second year at Harper, looking forward to putting her new found knowledge into action. She commented: “I am definitely looking forward to going into my second year as I can begin to specialise in the animal side of things - it’s what I’m most passionate about. I’m looking forward to broadening my knowledge within the agriculture sector and looking forward to my placement year to get out into the industry.
“I am very interested in both the genetics industry and the meat industry. Once I’ve finished my degree, I’d like to go down either one of these routes. My future ambition is simply to take as many opportunities as possible!”
Having chosen to come to Harper after hearing about other positive experiences, her own first year has mirrored this. She explained: “I’ve loved my time at the uni so far. I’ve had many good moments: I’ve enjoyed meeting new people from all around the country and the practical lab work for my course.”
Alongside this, Isla is still enthusiastic about her work with young breeders. She shared: “Others can get involved by joining these society youth schemes. I have been involved for five years now and have had many opportunities including judging Newport show young handlers, judging the herd competitions, having trips to Ireland and Dunbia.
“There is a Facebook page called UK Hereford Youth which has all the information on; it’s not just for Hereford breeders - anyone can be involved!”
With a degree that matters, you can say ‘yes’ to a wide range of exciting opportunities like Isla. Join us at our Clearing Open Day to start your journey in September 2020. Sign up now!