Jenny Martin, 27, graduated from the BSc (Hons) Business Management with Marketing degree pathway in 2016. Since then, she has had a varied and diverse career, which now sees her connecting other young farmers through the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster as their marketing and communications executive.
“At 18, making life decisions can be overwhelming,” Jenny said. “But taking the leap of faith to attend an English university was the best decision I ever made.
“At Harper, I was greeted with like-minded individuals from every agricultural sector you could think of, allowing for daily conversations and debates.”
Speaking about her overall experience of Harper, Jenny commented: “I couldn’t recommend Harper Adams University more. If you are from Northern Ireland and are worried about going overseas to university, my advice would be to attend an Open Day and get in touch with graduates or students and ask any questions no matter how silly you think they might be.”
Following an excellent four years of study, Jenny was fortunate to be awarded the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society scholarship upon graduation. This funding enabled her to attend the Commonwealth Agricultural Conference held in Singapore. Jenny said: “The event brought together a wealth of leading Agri-food individuals which debated the adaptability and evolution of the Commonwealth Agricultural Industry.”
From this experience, Jenny was inspired to continue travelling. With support from her placement year company, Anglia Farmers, Jenny travelled to New Zealand to gain an understanding of their agricultural sector and practices.
“In the most remote places in New Zealand, you would be amazed with the volume of individuals who have a connection to Harper Adams,” Jenny shared. “Whether that is through their own studies or simply having past graduate employees; world renowned is an understatement.”
During her four years abroad, Jenny first worked at a 500 Friesian dairy farm on the North Island, near Lake Taupo. Here she was taken aback by the dramatic changes to her familiar farming practices. Jenny said: “First sight of a dairy unit in New Zealand is a bit of a shock for an agricultural graduate from County Down! There are no fancy buildings or acres of concrete and slurry tanks! Instead, there was a parlour under a roof with open sides and a basic machinery shed and workshop.
“The climate means that even in winter stock is out in the fields so there is no storing and hauling slurry, cleaning cubicles, feeding stock in sheds or making huge amounts of silage. All silage made is big baled and fed in the fields during winter time.”
After eight months on the dairy farm, Jenny then toured the North and South Islands before undertaking a role with Walter Peak High Country Station as their Assistant Manager. The Station is 155 hectares, home to 20,000 sheep, 2,000 cattle and a large tourist business that showcases the historic Edwardian train that transported livestock, wool, people and all their needs to and from Queenstown.
Although Jenny loved her time in New Zealand, family and friends brought her back to Newtownards. “New Zealand has a major drawback - the 36 hour flight home to see the ones that matter most in my life. Being home, I now see this as a place that I can appreciate even more after four years of adventures overseas.”
Settling into her new YFCU role, Jenny is thoroughly enjoying her work, using skills from her degree as well as ones she discovered through her work. While Covid-19 has seen her working from home in a capacity she had not expected, it has given her the time to make connections with other young farmers province wide.
To find out more about degrees and scholarships that could take you into exciting career paths like Jenny’s, join us at our open day on March 20th. Register here to secure your place.