Harper Adams University BSc (Hons) Agri-business students have received first and third prizes in the prestigious Pinnacle Awards for excellence in business management ran by the Farmers Club and ADAS, with sponsorship from the Cave Foundation.
Reuben Wilson, 21, was awarded first prize at the 2018 Pinnacle Awards day hosted at the Farmers Club in London, while fellow student Sarah Dean, 22, was awarded third prize.
Reuben, from Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, presented his diversification plans for a 121 hectare dairy farm to provide elderly day care facilities, utilising three redundant buildings that currently surround the farm entrance. This idea was inspired from a trip to the Netherlands where care farming is strongly supported.
Reuben, who was awarded the Nickerson Cup along with a cheque for £2000, said: “At first I was very surprised that I’d received such a prestigious award, as there was so many strong candidates. I’d have been very happy to just be there in the first place. I was over the moon and very proud when I was awarded the first prize.
“I’d like to thank Wyn Morgan and Tony Asson for seeing the potential in my project, as well as all those involved in ADAS and the Farmers Club.
“The whole award day was a fantastic experience and definitely a highlight from my time at Harper that I’ll remember!”
Sarah from Driffield, East Yorkshire, shared her diversification plans looking into the viability of converting redundant agricultural buildings on her home farm into high quality, premium accommodation aimed at large extended family holidays for 12 people.
Sarah said: “Even though I put a lot of time and effort into the project, I never thought that I’d actually be picked. It was great to listen to the other students ideas and see other innovative ideas.
“I was so pleased when Reuben won the first prize, he really deserved it.
“I’d like to thank Tony for picking my report initially, as well as coming along to support both of us at the Farmers Club in London.”
Leading the judging panel was Professor Bill McKelvey, non-executive director of Glenrath Farms, who said: “Their awards recognise their personal achievement and development, and most of all their potential for the future. It’s extremely encouraging to see such a high level of business management skill.”
The Farmers Club Pinnacle Awards is an annual event which helps present unique challenges to students, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their potential within the industry.
The awards aim to not create additional work for the participating students by instead allowing them to submit work completed for university modules. For Harper Adams students this is the rural business opportunities module, in which students are required to complete a diversification appraisal on a real farm business, with this year being the first time students have had the opportunity to select their own ‘client’.