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Harper Adams graduate Rosie shares insights about her dairy industry work – from farm to fork

Posted 27 May

A young woman – Rosie Cowie – in a fleece and wax jacket stands in front of a mountain and lake.

A Harper Adams graduate whose unusual dissertation saw her examine bovine physiotherapy has built a career in the dairy industry – and is now part of a team developing the Sainsbury's produce range.

Rosie Cowie, originally from Yarm in North Yorkshire, spoke after sharing her insights on the importance of animal health and welfare - from farm to fork - in a guest lecture for current Harper Adams students. She gave the online lecture just weeks after beginning new role – the latest of a series in the dairy industry which she has secured since completing her studies.

She said: “It was fantastic to be asked back to present at my old University – something I couldn’t have dreamed four years ago that I would be in a position to do.

“To have the knowledge base and the confidence to speak to more than 40 students was a real boost for me – although it would have been even nicer to actually come back to campus and stand at the front of the lecture theatre!

My lecture was to the Farm Animal Health class on the theme of ‘Farm to Fork – the importance of farm animal health and welfare,’ focusing on the impact which farm animal health and welfare has on the end product on shelf in supermarkets and how the consumer perceives these standards - so looking at how the supply chain links from farm to consumer.”

Rosie graduated from Harper Adams with a BSc (Hons) in Veterinary Physiotherapy – and having competed her dissertation working with Harper Adams’ dairy herd – looking into the under-researched world of cow physiotherapy - found her way to her latest role through a series of agriculture industry jobs.

Despite her current role not being what she had initially planned when starting her studies at Harper Adams, she credits her time at the University with providing her long-lasting friends, support networks, and opportunities and experiences – such as her dissertation – which she has used to help forge her new path.

She said: “My time at Harper was some of the best years of my life, as cheesy as that sounds – I may have struggled at times with my course, particularly when I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do in the long term, but I persevered and tried to make the most out of every situation.

“The support network at Harper is something that is second to none, as well as the sports and clubs available to get involved in – I was heavily involved in the hockey club throughout my four years and I have made some friends for life.

“My advice to anyone currently studying or considering studying at Harper is - get stuck into every opportunity and never take life too seriously!

“Never be too afraid to do something ‘different’ – be that living with people outside of your course, studying something unique for your dissertation or studying at an agriculture-focussed university when you’re not from an agriculture background – like me!”

After completing her studies and securing her degree, Rosie started her career as an administrator in dairy company Arla’s customer relations team, working her way up to a promotion as a Customer Agriculture Manager (CAM).

She said: My current career was a million miles away from what I thought I would achieve when I started at day one of Harper. I knew I would just need to go out into the agriculture industry and apply myself, work hard and find my route a different way.”

“I was very fortunate in my first year at Arla that I had a very good team around me that supported and pushed me to progress in my knowledge, work behaviours and relationship building.

“After three years, I started to look for other opportunities and always wanted to see what life was like ‘on the other side’ – when this role came up at Sainsbury’s I was delighted to be successful in my application, as their company goals and ethos really fit with my own.”

Rosie has been in working for Sainsbury’s for just over a month – and is hoping to soon take her skills back out onto farms across the country.

She added: “This role involves working with the buyers, technical team, category team and my other peers in the Agriculture Team.

“We ensure we are delivering for our customers in great quality, taste, freshness and distinctiveness as well as working with the farmers that are part of the group to be leading in the industry as well as resilient for the future.

“I am so excited to get back out on farm after a year of C-19 restrictions - as well as really starting to get my teeth into the big projects ahead.”

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