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Worshipful Company of Butchers visitors meet Harper Adams staff and students during campus visit

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12 May 2022

Harper Adams University staff have beeen delighted to host a visit of the Worshipful Company of Butchers’ (WCB) Charity and Education Committee.

Organised by Professor Bob Bansback and Harper Adams Senior Lecturer Martin Anderson, nine committee members travelled to campus to learn more about the University’s food and farming research activities and aspirations, and to meet past and present MRes students funded by the Worshipful Company.

In a busy schedule, the day commenced with a meeting with Professor Ken Sloan, followed by a tour of the Food Academy, including the Food Creativity Laboratory partly funded by the WCB, and Harper Adams Farm - led by Dr Lynn McIntyre and Professor Jude Capper.

Head of Department Rebecca Payne then described research activities in the Food, Land and Agribusiness Management Department – and was followed by further discussions with Professor Michael Lee about wider agricultural research activities at Harper Adams, including the School of Sustainable Food and Farming.

After lunch, the main business of the afternoon was meeting WCB-funded students to hear more about their research projects.

Through videos, Teams and in-person presentations, six students ably showcased a diverse range of research topics including:

  • E-nose detection of meat safety and spoilage;
  • the impact of freezing and thawing on beef cooking quality;
  • an exploration of the growth of the beef sector within South America;
  • strategies to address recruitment of young people;
  • and the underrepresentation of women in the meat industry.

Professor Karl Behrendt also presented background information on another WCB-funded project,which will investigate optimization of net zero strategies in UK beef and sheep sectors.

Harper Adams staff offered thanks to everyone involved in making this WCB visit successful, and are optimistic that it will become a regular event in the WCB Charity and Education Committee calendar.   

Professor Jude Capper, ABP Chair in Sustainable Beef and Sheep Production, said: “It was wonderful to be able to host the Charity and Education Committee from the Worshipful Company of Butchers - such a great opportunity to further strengthen the relationship between Harper Adams and one of the oldest livery companies, with huge benefits for the meat industry provided by both institutions.

As a liveryman and member of the committee myself, it was a wonderful to make new linkages as to the opportunities going forwards and to see the amazing work that the WCB-sponsored MRes students have been doing - the future is truly bright!”

Among those MRes students is Susan O’Neill – who is also Food Safety, Integrity and Quality manager at Linden Foods.

She said: "I had the opportunity to present to the Worshipful Company of Butchers who are sponsoring the completion of my Masters of Research, on Strategies to reduce barriers to recruiting domestic young people into the meat industry.

“This event was extremely valuable, as it allowed me to discuss with industry professionals, the aims, and objectives of my project.

“It also allowed me to draw from the experience of these individuals, to identify some of the challenges the industry is facing with recruitment and retainment so I can further develop these research areas.

“Not only was the event beneficial to my Masters research, it was also valuable to my professional development." 

John Allton Jones, Chair of the WCB Charities Committee, added: “We had an excellent meeting with the Vice Chancellor and other member of the Harper Adams staff on our visit.

"We also enjoyed a fascinating tour of the facilities -  but the highlight was the opportunity to hear from the students that the WCB has supported and be reminded of the difference the Livery can make to young peoples' lives.

"Our committee has a much better understanding of how we might better support and engage and we are already looking at opportunities. I'd like to thank all who contributed to making it such a special day."

 

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