Following this year’s Harper Ireland Club dinner, where students were encouraged by guest speaker, Liam De Paor to “welcome and embrace change – and the opportunities it can bring you”, outgoing Chairman of the Club – and Harper Ireland Scholarship recipient - Joseph Compton reflects on his time at Harper Adams so far.
At his outgoing dinner as Harper Ireland Chairman, Joseph Compton and his fellow students were advised to make the most of every opportunity which came their way.
It’s certainly advice which agriculture student, Joseph, 20, would agree with – as his time at university so far has demonstrated.
Joseph wanted to explore his passion for the dairy industry through his previous studies and found his home-from-home studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture at Harper Adams.
He said: “I love studying at Harper. The rural location, fantastic facilities and friendly community feel, where everyone knows everyone, is why I love Harper.”
Originally from Glarryford, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Joseph wanted to feel a sense of familiarity and community when he began studying in England – and he found that here in the Harper Ireland Club.
He said: “Being part of the Harper Ireland club is like being part of a big friendly family. Harper Ireland was so important to me during my first year as it made me feel at home, without being at home.
“I have made friends for life during my time within the club and it is always great to hear the familiar twang and craic that I am used to when at home.”
At the dinner, Joseph passed the baton to the incoming 2023 committee, which will be headed by Anthony Donnelly.
Joseph said: “I have loved every second of being the Harper Ireland Chairman. It has been a truly rewarding experience and I have got a lot of fulfilment out of seeing people enjoying themselves throughout the year.
“I have particularly enjoyed engaging with all the club members, conducting meetings, and organising the annual Harper Ireland dinner and Paddy’s Ball. I have also gained valuable life skills in the form of leadership, organisation, communication, and networking.”
Joseph has worked to supplement the skills his studies have developed by making the most of the other advantages a Harper Adams degree can offer.
He added: “The opportunities in agriculture that Harper gives you regarding scholarships, placement opportunities and the high employability rates is something that other universities in rural industries cannot compete with.”
Joseph was one of the recipients of the Harper Ireland Scholarship, a competitive award given to those who are believed to have contributed significantly to student life at Harper and balanced consistent academic success.
On winning the award, Joseph said: “It was a privilege to receive the Harper Ireland Scholarship. The money received from the scholarship will help me greatly to support my studies and help me excel. I would like to thank Harper in Ireland for sponsoring the award and for believing in me.
“Grasp every opportunity with both hands, get out and meet lots of people, get stuck in and enjoy every minute because it goes very quickly.”
Like all students at Harper, Joseph will go on to complete a placement in an industry of his choosing. Finding the right placement that catered to all the experience Joseph was after was difficult at first, but after extensive research, he found the right opportunity for him.
“I will be doing my placement with Huddlestone Farmers ltd. Huddlestone Farm is a forward-thinking family run farming business owned by the Gue Family. With the dairy in West Sussex, as well as an arable farm in the tranquil Scottish Borders, they aim to produce food of the highest quality.
“It is a mixed farm milking 420 pedigree Holstein dairy cows, on 8 newly installed Lely robots averaging just over 13,000L, 300 Mule ewes, beef and arable. The milk produced goes to Tesco daily, as well as producing prime lamb and beef, milling and biscuit wheat, oilseed rape, malting barley for whisky and vining peas.
“The wheat and barley are also used for animal feed, which is crushed and mixed on farm, showing sustainability.
“I am very passionate about the dairy industry and with it being one of the best dairy farms in the UK, winning countless awards for their dairy stock, including being named in the Top 10 herds in the world for the number of excellent cows, I cannot wait to get started and learn from one of the best farms in the industry.”