Growing up on a farm gave BSc (Hons) Agribusiness Management Jack Lewcock a love of agriculture that he wanted to develop – but he always knew he’d have to match his passion with a head for business.
Jack moved into his grandparents’ farm growing up – beginning an interest in farming which led him to his current studies.
He said: “Now, they’re not farmers historically – my grandfather was a civil engineer who helped build some of the world’s most dangerous roads – but they decided to buy a farm.
“Unfortunately, the place was falling apart and they’ve spent the last 38 years building it back up again, so it’s very much a hobby farm.
“We started out with some rare-breed Gloucester cattle, which we’ve now sold, and then my mum’s got sheep which we now take care of, but a few years ago the decision was made that we were selling up.
“That kind of meant I’ve always known that I’ve not got an end destination at home in agriculture, but it was enough to build up a passion and give me the boost to find alternative ways into the industry.”
With a grounding in agriculture – supplemented by industry experience while at college – Jack found himself seeking a course that would help develop the additional skills he’d need to forge a career – skills he believes every farmer needs.
He added: “Farmers can get crop out of the ground and rear a calf into premium beef – but they don’t always understand how to market their product or even sell or negotiate.
“There are some great examples out there of people who know how to do both and they’re brilliant, but you find their one piece of advice is always, ‘do business’.
“At the end of the day you can pay people to get the crop out of the ground, but if you’re not able to explain why your product is better, or sell it to consumers, then it might as well be worthless.
“Plus, we’re moving into an industry that is going to be selling direct to the customer a lot more, so skills like this are vital.”
Ultimately, it was it was finding a course with this business element that helped to seal Jack’s decision to come to Harper Adams, where the Agribusiness Management degree is designed to help its graduates develop the skills, knowledge and experience they need to pursue opportunities right across the sector.
He added: “The course offering made me choose Harper – there’s other universities that do agriculture with business management but they’re completely different.
“Harper degrees delve so much deeper into the business side of things - and I think anything other than that, would be doing the sector a disservice.
“A lot of people have also been here within the industry – so word of mouth played a huge part. I also wanted to choose a university that had an industrial placement – that was a very big thing for me! Having done one already at college, I know how important it is.
“Everyone commented how friendly everyone was and I found Harper no different. Even the campus as well, with it being rural. I didn’t want to be in an inner-city campus, it’s just not me!”
“This was all from having never done an open day either, I just trusted the marketing I was being sent was going to deliver on what it promised Harper was, and I have not been disappointed.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first year.”