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Featured student of the month: Rebecca Kelsall

Posted 2 January 2014

I’m an ambitious person and I’m really enjoying the course

Rebecca with her pigs

Rebecca with her pigs

A monthly special featuring a current student from Harper Adams University.

Despite no experience of pig farming, agri-business student, Rebecca Kelsall, has taken the plunge and established a business rearing rare-breed pigs.

Turning 21-years-old later this month, Rebecca has a trio of free-range Saddleback pigs, which she keeps at her uncle’s farm in Lower Withington in East Cheshire. She hopes that they will prove easy to rear.

Rebecca, from Haslington, also in Cheshire, said: “I wanted to start my own small business and rather than choose a traditional commercial breed, I thought I would opt for something a little more unusual.

“I’ve never reared livestock before so have started with just three, to see how it goes and perhaps expand if business does well. I’d like to explore other rare breeds of pigs too, such as the Oxford Sandy and Black.”

Although Rebecca has family connections to the agricultural industry, she doesn’t currently live on a farm. Even so, she has always had an interest in the sector, relief milking at weekends for various farmers across Cheshire, and taking part in stock judging competitions.

Rebecca, a former Reaseheath College student, said: “My parents were surprised at my choice of moving more into the agricultural sector from my equine diploma, but they are really supportive of my decision to go into the agricultural industry.

“I’d like to work in dairy genetics for a company such as Genus once I graduate, and hope I will be spending my placement year with them too.

“The pigs are my hobby, really, I hope to pursue a long-term career within the dairy industry.”

Whilst at university, Rebecca is the course representative for agri-business and is currently part of team Harper Adams in Mole Valley’s UniInMyWellies competition against the Royal Agricultural University.

She said: “I never really envisaged attending university because of the thought of having to move to a city, but my parents spoke to me about Harper Adams and I found the agri-business course appealing, as well as its location  in the heart of the countryside.

“Now that I’ve chosen a career path, Harper Adams is helping me to achieve that by teaching me the key elements needed to run a business.

“I’m an ambitious person and I’m really enjoying the course – particularly learning about animal productions, farm business law and farm business management.

“It’s such a varied degree that it is giving me a really great all-round grounding, ready for my future career.”

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