Posted 21 May 2014
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Maddi Naish, 19, is a second year BSc (Hons) REALM student from Wantage in Oxfordshire.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the official opening of the new Weston Building here at Harper Adams. The building has some really lovely working spaces and new classrooms, and is proving very popular during the revision period. The Costa Coffee machine is also going down well!
To mark the event, TV presenter and farmer Adam Henson was invited to officially open the building, and to give a talk in the new lecture theatre. Adam spoke about his life growing up on the farm, and how fortunate he was to experience that.
After the war there was a lot of pressure on farmers to increase the productivity of both the land and animals. This meant the most efficient breeds of animals were favoured, and many breeds became rare.
Adam’s father realised the need to prevent rare breeds of livestock from dying out completely due to the valuable gene bank they provided, and set up Cotswold Farm Park, which Adam now runs with a business partner.
As can be seen from the research happening at Harper Adams, agricultural technology is developing rapidly. While this brings the benefits of increased efficiency and food production, it also brings with it problems, such as maintaining high welfare standards on a large scale.
One thing that Adam stressed the importance of is the need to embrace new technology, and for business owners to surround themselves with people whose knowledge fills in the gaps in their own. Through careful management, high standards can be achieved while still producing high yields.
These new farming methods have caught the attention of the wider public, and farming is very much in the public eye. People are paying attention - so the perception of agriculture should be considered when discussing farming with those who are not employed in the industry.
The popularity of primetime farming-focussed TV programmes has shown that the public are really interested in all of the details behind farming, and the entire ‘farm to fork’ story. This public interest should be embraced to show agriculture and farmers in a realistic and positive way, Adam said.
The opening of the Weston Building was really enjoyable, finishing off with afternoon tea, and a lovely event to have before the exams!
To find out more of what I’ve been up to visit my blog or find me on twitter @maddinaish