14 March 2018
Despite not coming from a family farm, Dan Jones has worked hard to gain experience in the agricultural sector; from running his own egg and turkey business through his teenage years, taking a gap year to work on various farms in the UK, to working in Kansas on a 15,000-acre beef and arable farm.
In recognition of his hard work and commitment, the 22 year-old, BSc (Hons) Agriculture and Farm Business Management student from Ruyton XI Towns in Shropshire has recently been awarded a Lord Leverhulme Charitable Trust Scholarship.
Looking back on his journey, Dan said: “I’ve been interested in agriculture for as long as I can remember; having been partly influenced by my dad who grew up on a small mixed farm in Powys.
“Having not grown up on a farm myself, this interest and longing to become involved in practical farming led to me purchasing laying pullets and selling eggs at 13 years-old.
“This small venture quickly grew and within two years I had a flock of 100 hens and raised 40 turkeys for the Christmas market.
“From then on, my interest grew into a passion for the industry and I started to work part-time for farmers in the local area during the school holidays.
“After completing my A-Levels and still keen to pursue a career in farming, I decided I needed to explore as many sectors within the umbrella of agriculture as I possibly could and gain more experience. So, I undertook a gap year, where I spent time working for, and learning from, five varied farming businesses.
“By the end of the year, I’d worked within, and gained knowledge of, the potato, dairy, combinable crop, cattle hoof trimming, beef, sheep and broiler enterprises.
“But my year of working and learning only led to more questions and a thirst for knowledge of the industry. With this in mind, I was determined to apply to and successfully enrol at Harper Adams, due to its excellent reputation within the farming community.
“I’m now in my final year at Harper Adams. Last year I was on placement, which is mandatory and a key component for all of the university’s undergraduate courses. I applied through the Ohio program and was placed on a 15,000-acre beef and arable farm in the heart of Kansas.
“The experience was a huge learning curve for me, understanding the growing of crops I’d never seen before, such as soya beans, or even never heard of, such as grain sorghum.
“This life changing experience was only possible due to the generosity of the Jill Willows Scholarshipwhich I was awarded during my second year of study.
“This year, I’m very grateful to have been awarded a Lord Leverhulme Charitable Trust Scholarship. It’ll make a huge difference and I can fulfil my dream to continue to learn from farmers around the world as it’ll help with the high cost of flights to Australia. I’ll also be able to undertake more practical skills training.
“I’d like to thank the Lord Leverhulme Trust. The award has given me reassurance that I’m on the right career path, which I hope will ultimately lead to me running my own farm business.”