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    Using your skills in the field - the value of the Applied Farm Business Management case study

    11 March 2024

    Our students get a strong grounding in their studies in our lecture theatres and classrooms – but to develop the real-world skills they need, they’re also expected to apply their learning in the field – quite literally!

    In this guest blog, final-year BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management student Harry Parsons explains how our Applied Farm Business Management Case Study lets our students take what they have learned at Harper and use it to give advice toa  real-life farming business.

    Just like a ‘too long, didn’t read’ e-mail, modules like the Applied Farm Business Management Case Study are exactly why I chose to study Agriculture with Farm Business Management at Harper Adams: the course is about giving you the real-world skills you need to thrive in industry.

    The idea behind Applied Farm Business Management Case Study is to apply the techniques we have learnt in our first, second and placement years on a real farm in the form of a report which recommends to the farmer which direction we think they should take their business over the medium term (three to eight years) future.

    Our lecturers sourced the client, and we had the role of acting as agricultural consultants for the business, advising them on what we believed was the best future plan for the business based on our informed view of the future, alongside the business’s current management style, infrastructure, financial situation and taking account of the manager’s preferences.

    Although our lecturers organised the visit, once at the farm - other than the financial performance which was provided prior the visit via a set of farm accounts - we had to determine all of the above factors ourselves by asking the farmer questions and through our own observations of the infrastructure, livestock and grazing land.

    To get to actually visit the farm we have to complete the assignment on was an excellent experience, and by putting us in a situation where we needed to develop an understanding of the business through our own questioning and observations, helped to develop our practical skills in this context.

    When real farms are involved, the task of analysing a business immediately takes on higher stakes and becomes far more challenging.

    However, for most graduates, their first experience of this difficult task would be in a real-working environment, with consequences beyond a poor grade!

    As an Agriculture with Farm Business Management graduate from Harper, however, I’ll have had the experience while at University, and hopefully, if I do a good enough job, will also have been able to help the farmer with some high quality advice.


    Wyn Morgan, module tutor, added: “Real life scenarios are a vital element of the Agriculture with Farm Business Management course and both the students and the client farmers benefit from these experiences.  It is a taste of reality for the students and ties in with the Harper Adams ethos of principles into practice."

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