Posted 1 March 2018
“I immediately fell in love with both the dairy industry and the farming industry as a whole. I had the great fortune to work on a range of excellent farms across New Zealand."
Aimee Ash doesn’t come from an agricultural background, but yet her passion to enter the industry led to her turning down an offer to study nursing and instead she travelled halfway across the world to start working in the dairy industry.
Now, in her final year of studying BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Animal Science at Harper Adams University, she’s just been awarded a Clyde Higgs Scholarship.
The 23 year-old from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, said: “As a girl from a non-farming background, I surprised both my family and my teachers when I turned down an offer to study a nursing degree in order to pursue my dream career in farming.
“At 18, I headed for New Zealand with no farming experiences but managed to secure a casual labour position rearing calves and milking on a large grass-based dairy farm; my first steps into a hopefully long and rewarding career in farming.
“I immediately fell in love with both the dairy industry and the farming industry as a whole. I had the great fortune to work on a range of excellent farms across New Zealand, ranging from 500 cows to over 1000, which led to me quickly building experience and gaining responsibility.
“Upon returning to the UK, I secured a position on a large dairy herd, which followed many of the grass-based practices I had seen in New Zealand. I then spent a further month working in the Irish dairy farming industry.
“Through these jobs, I realised a passion for grass-based dairying, and began to aspire towards large herd management. It’s this ambition that has led to me studying agriculture at Harper Adams.
“Last year, I was on my placement at Arlington Farming Ltd. Michael Arlington runs four grazing-focused dairy farms, two of which are organic. I spent around three months on each farm during their busiest periods, usually coinciding with their calving or mating blocks.
“Upon graduating I’d like to go into large, extensive dairy farm management, with the plan to use my degree and experience to go into consultancy later on in my career.”
On receiving the Clyde Higgs Scholarship, Aimee said: “I’m very honoured and grateful to have been selected by the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust to receive this award. Their interest in my future career means a great deal, and the funds awarded will make a great difference to me in my final year at Harper Adams.
“I’m trying to pay for my degree without taking out a student loan, instead by relying on money I saved from my time working before university and relief milking during first and second year.
“The scholarship will make a big difference for me this year as it’ll allow me to focus on my final year studies. I’m also planning to use a portion of the grant to finance a trailer course and license, which I feel will be an important addition to my CV.”