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Student plans to ‘bowl over’ farming industry

Posted 2 June 2015

Jake Meakins

Jake Meakins

Indoor bowls, scuba diving and choosing a degree in agriculture are just some of the things that have contributed to Jake Meakins’ reputation for thinking outside the box.

Despite not coming from a farming background, forward-thinking Jake chose to pursue a career in agriculture after a school friend introduced him to the industry. He is now striving towards his long-term goal of establishing a high welfare veal unit.

21-year-old Jake, who studies FdSc Agriculture at Harper Adams University, said: “My family aren’t farmers, but I’ve always loved being outdoors.

“I knew Harper Adams was for me after attending a taster experience, then known as the Higher Education Choices (HEC) conference. I’m actually the first person from my family to go to university.

“I think I’ve always had the ability to identify future markets and growth areas, and now I’m looking to set up my own high welfare, high quality veal unit. There’s potential within that area of the sector and I think perceptions need to change following negative publicity some years ago. Welfare standards are much higher these days.

“I don’t have the option of returning to the family farm as we don’t have one, so I have to find another viable way to secure a future career in farming.”

As well as a passion for agriculture, Jake has a host of unusual hobbies including indoor bowls. A member of Grantham & District Indoor Bowls Club and has represented Lincolnshire at county levels for their under 25s team, he plays around two nights a week and enters competitions.

Jake from Grantham said: “I was inspired by my family, who all play indoor bowls, to take up the sport and I really enjoy it.

“I know people stereotype it, but it’s not just for the older generation. Lots of younger people play it when you take a closer look.

“A lack of positive promotion has meant that people don’t really know about it but it’s a great social sport that’s played around the world.”

As well as indoor bowls, Jake enjoys scuba diving, clay pigeon shooting and playing darts. He believes that his diverse range of hobbies will help him in the future as it shows that he has commitment and good time management skills.

Jake added: “Long-term, I want to establish the veal unit but after graduation, I’m hoping to secure a role in farm management or agricultural recruitment.

“I’m open-minded really, but regardless I know that I’ll need to work hard to achieve within this industry.”

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