28 January 2022
Hailing from an farming background in Warwickshire meant that BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management Student, Tim Cotterill had heard about Harper Adams from a young age.
Here he discusses why the placement year confirmed his decision to apply to Harper Adams and what it’s been like working with leading Agricultural Management firm Wilson Wraight.
Having come from an arable farming background in North Warwickshire, my decision to study BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management at Harper Adams was a foregone conclusion.
While the like-mindedness of fellow students and on-site university farm initially attracted me to Harper, it was the 12-month industry placement sandwiched into every course that really drove me to study here.
I saw this as an excellent opportunity to try something new and chose to steer away from a practical farm-based placement, more towards the farm advisory sector.
In December 2020 I was fortunate enough to receive the Wilson Wraight Agricultural Management Consultant Scholarship.
This offered considerable financial support during my second year, as well as a 52-week placement, working from the firm’s single office in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.
Now, having completed almost six months (at the time of writing) as an Assistant Agricultural Consultant, I have been able to apply my knowledge and the farm business techniques learnt in my first and second years to support the management consultancy service that Wilson Wraight provides to agricultural businesses.
Tasks undertaken so far have included the completion of detailed management reports and budgeting for the following harvest year - a particularly interesting exercise given the ongoing market volatility within the industry.
I am also responsible for circulating internal weekly prices and market trends and have been heavily involved in one of the company’s latest service offerings, Wilson Wraight Analytics.
This software analyses farm data down to field level to help drive productivity and identify future opportunities within a business.
Gaining access to the real-time data allows well-informed decisions to be made on farm, driving growth and improvement.
I anticipate that the digitialsation of data will play a large role in the future of farm business management and my involvement in the Analytics work during placement has certainly given me ideas for my final year dissertation.
The social interaction in the office allows endless knowledge sharing to take place, and discussions on topics such as combinable and root crop production have been invaluable for my own development.
This placement position has enabled me to adapt to the professional world, equipped me with core employee attributes, and helped me further understand my career direction.
A year in industry will undoubtedly add significant value as I prepare for my final year studies and my mantra of focus and hard-work would be the advice I offer to anyone who is looking to join the ladder and start this journey.
I would like to thank the Harper Adams Development Trust and Wilson Wraight for all their support and I look forward to the opportunities ahead, starting a career at such a pivotal moment in British Agriculture.