You never know where a last-minute decision could take you – Harry Buckley joined Harper Adams through Clearing in 2017 and is now about to embark upon a Masters in Data Science that will help him to shape the future of farming.
“I’ve decided to stay at Harper Adams to complete a MSc in Data Science for Global Agriculture, Food and Environment. I believe that for UK agriculture to flourish in the future there will be a requirement for minimising costs and targeting efficient production of high-quality, sustainable produce. I think that this can be achieved through looking at all the on-farm data that is collected but not currently used as effectively as it could be.
“There is a gap in the market for people who have a foot in both camps of agriculture and computing as understanding both will allow the collaboration of ideas from two areas of expertise. The course is very new and, I believe, the only one in the UK and I want to be at the cutting edge of the future of agriculture.”
Harry, who is not from an agricultural background, said his transition from A-levels to university was not exactly typical, because upon receiving his A-Level results he left for Australia and managed to get a job on a 4.2-million-acre cattle station owned by Georgina Pastoral Company.
“I spent two years mustering cattle with no mobile phone, internet, or local towns (the closest being 220km away) and when I temporarily came home, I completed my helicopter licence which allowed me to return to Australia and round up the cattle using helicopters.
“I discovered my passion for agriculture while out in Australia, but I wanted to broaden my agricultural knowledge even further, which is why I chose to study BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Crop Management after having started my university career on the Agriculture FdSc,” says Harry.
As 27-year-old Harry gained a place at Harper Adams through Clearing, he hadn’t visited the university and started in October having not seen the accommodation or learning facilities. Nevertheless, keen polo player Harry says he was excited to get to Harper and start his degree.
"I knew there would be some challenges though: Having not come from an agricultural background my knowledge of agriculture was limited to Australian cattle stations, which has little relevance to UK farming. I overcame this by really knuckling down with the course material and by asking for help from my peers and lecturers.”
All that hard work paid off as Harry received an academic commendation in his third-year, but he still found time to enjoy himself outside of his degree.
“My favourite experiences have been the many events and socials organised by Harper clubs and societies, being part of the winning team at the Newport 7s tournament, winning competitions for The Harper Adams Polo Club and Fieldsports Society,” says Harry, “It's been an absolute blast!”