Posted 17 March 2015
An online campaign to recruit host farms to help Harper Adams students to complete their assignments has been successful thanks to the power of social media.
At the start of September, Senior Lecturer in Farm Business Management, Tony Asson, used Twitter and Facebook to put a call out to farmers interested in helping the next generation of agricultural business experts.
This led to the Parker family at Manor Farm on the Earl of Plymouth Estate in Ludlow being selected for analysis by the students, who have since produced reports recommending areas for potential business growth and development.
Mr Asson said: “We always try to use real businesses for assignments as it gives students the access to the different scenarios that they may face as they progress through their careers.
“We were delighted at the response to our Twitter campaign, which has led to something that has been of benefit to both our students and the host farm.
“It really does provide a fresh perspective on the business, with ideas that could potentially be implemented on the farm in the future.”
Manor Farm is a tenanted beef and arable unit, with three generations of the family involved with the business, including former Harper Adams student, Gareth. It was through Twitter that he noticed the recruitment campaign.
After having hosted the students on the farm, Gareth returned to the university to speak to the students about his thoughts on future developments. The Parker family also visited Harper Adams to hear a selection of the report findings presented by some of the students.
Gareth, who is currently pursuing a career with Halls in Shrewsbury, said: “The overall experience has been brilliant.
“Sometimes when you eat, sleep and breathe the same farm, some of the simple things are missed. So it was great to see areas of our business highlighted that we could and need to improve.
“The students came up with some cracking ideas, some of which have been implemented already. We also hope to implement more in the future. We would like to thank the students for their efforts!”
Host farms need to be located within an hour coach journey of the university in Newport, Shropshire, and be open to welcoming groups of up to 120 students.
To enquire about becoming a host farm, contact firstname.lastname@example.org