As part of their final year, BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management students study a variety of modules, including an Applied Farm Business Management Case Study – whereby students are presented with a real-life scenario with a farm business client.
This year’s visit was to Home Farm, in the Derbyshire Dales.
Here’s what fourth year student, Anna Frick had to say about the trip.
Studying this module is very important in relation to the Agriculture with Farm Business Management course, as it provides students with the opportunity to apply a range of analytical skills previously developed on the course to a real-life farm business. Following an initial review of the business, you are then required to prepare a strategic plan for the next five to seven years for the business moving forward.
Students are provided with a real-life scenario farm business client – in our case, this was Home Farm, located in the Derbyshire Dales. Prior to the visit, we were provided with physical and financial background information about the farm, allowing us to formulate a series of questions to ask on the day. This farm was previously tenanted with beef and sheep enterprises, but the decision had been made to farm it in-hand, with the objectives of having a mixed enterprise system utilising regenerative agricultural practices and including value added products. Therefore, as students our role was to act as advisers to prepare a business plan for the land agent (Fisher German) and a non- farming landowner.
The aim of the visit was to assess the available internal resources of the farm, such as the land and buildings in relation to the owner’s objectives and the physical and financial implications of these for the development of business. Using these findings, we were able to recommend the best solutions to problems associated with production, staffing, business strategy and marketing. These solutions would then be used to inform our final strategic plan.
The visit consisted of a detailed tour of the site where students were able to ask questions, including the previous performance and use of the buildings and land. This also enabled us to ask wider questions regarding the market demand and future business opportunities and challenges faced by the business. Furthermore, the visit allowed us to speak directly to the land agent to understand both his and the owners’ objectives in much greater detail, to ensure our recommendations would fit with these.
Applied modules and assignments, such as this, are essential as you develop the skills from classroom taught theory in your first and second year of the course and apply these to real-life farm businesses. This course prepares you for beyond your studies at Harper Adams, giving you a good insight into agricultural consultancy and farm management roles.
The module is invaluable as it gives students confidence, relevant skills and shows you how solutions and strategic plans are applied to real life scenarios, which is what we will be doing in our graduate careers.