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Student in running for £10k Farmers Apprentice prize

Posted 4 July 2014

Rebecca Kelsall

A second year Harper Adams University student is off to agricultural bootcamp later this month in hope of winning a £10,000 prize to help kick-start her farming career.

BSc (Hons) Agri-Business student Rebecca Kelsall has been selected as one of 10 finalists in the Farmers Weekly Farmers Apprentice competition. 

She now needs to impress judges during a week-long crash course at Easton & Otley College in Norfolk, which aims to teach her what it takes to run a modern farming operation.

21-year-old Rebecca from Haslington, Cheshire, said: “It just seemed like such an exciting opportunity and ties in so well with my career aspirations, so I spent a day filming my entry video on my friend’s farm.

“I’m really pleased to have been shortlisted and excited to be going to bootcamp, but a little nervous as some of the tasks from the previous competition look daunting.

“But I’m looking forward to meeting new people and learning some new skills.”

Rebecca established her business, Pigling Pork, in August 2013, despite no former experience of pig farming. She now sells a variety of free-range, outdoor-reared, rare breed pork products including sausages and roasting joints.

She rears her stock at her uncle’s farm and also works as a relief milker for dairy farmers across Cheshire, but is currently taking a 12-month break from the business to concentrate on her university placement year.

She added: “The business has been going really well but I’m taking a short break as I’m off to Genus as a Breeding Programme Administrator.

“As for the competition, I’m preparing by doing some research into business ideas and entrepreneurship, as well as driving all sorts of tractors and machines. Luckily I’m prepared for the livestock side through my experience at work.

“If I win, I’d incorporate the prize money into Pigling Pork, perhaps investing in some land closer to home to enable me to buy some more stock and keep a closer eye on the business.”

Farmers Apprentice was established in 2012 as a response to the challenge of recruiting young business minds into agriculture, providing a platform from which people from all walks of life can get a foot on the farming ladder.

Young people from across the country were encouraged to apply and submit a short video about why they should be the next Farmers Apprentice.
The highs and lows of bootcamp will then be showcased in a five-part online documentary shown in November.

You can watch Rebecca's entry video here.

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