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Harper Adams student and graduates among newly-announced NFU Student and Young Farmer Ambassadors

Posted 7 December 2021

A fine prospect - the Hharper Adams campus seen from the air.

Two Harper Adams graduates and a current student at the University are among the NFU’s most recently announced Student and Young Farmer Ambassadors.

Overall, more than 100 people from across the UK applied to become Ambassadors this year, with a new Inclusivity Pledge introduced. Under this pledge, applicants who were from a community they felt had been under-represented in agriculture – whether this was through race, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or another factor – were particularly encouraged to apply.

Harper Adams Student Union President Emily Brown, Rural Enterprise and Land Management student Thomas Saunders, and recent Agriculture graduate Dan Hawes are among the 14 latest Ambassadors.

Each will now work with the NFU to promote British farming over the coming year – both inside the industry and to the general public.

Thomas, from Bedfordshire, began his course at Harper Adams as a Degree Apprentice before deciding to convert to a full-time student – and then applied for his NFU role.

He said: “It is a fantastic feeling being an Ambassador. The NFU Student and Young Farmer Ambassador programme is a great initiative and one that I am very grateful to be a part of.

“I have met previous Ambassadors over the past couple of years and I have seen what a fantastic opportunity it is.

“Therefore, I was very keen to apply to be an Ambassador myself.  I am incredibly passionate about agriculture and the rural community.

“However, I also have a particular interest in education. I thought it would be great to combine these three interests to try and encourage more people to back British farming.”

Emily, a keen campaigner with AgRespect among others, said: “"I am very much looking forward to getting stuck in as an NFU SYF Ambassador.

“It is a brilliant opportunity to help raise the profile of sustainable British agriculture and ensure it can be an inclusive and welcoming industry for people to work in.

“Working with Agrespect and as President of Harper Adams Students' Union over the next year, I want to help show that embracing our differences can bring greater resilience and success to rural communities and the agricultural industry."

And Dan – who is now working as a manager on a soft fruit farm in Kent – said: “It's really exciting to be chosen as an ambassador this year!

“Turning 26 meant this was my last year to apply and the programme looked like a great opportunity to meet others from various parts of the UK, in all kinds of positions, all wanting to benefit the industry we work in and develop ourselves and our careers.

“I've recently started a new management role, which made me more eager to get involved. We all want people to buy and back British, but now I'm responsible for growing my own strawberry crops, it makes it more personal, as I get to grow a quality nutritious great British product and I really want people to enjoy my product as much as I do, and to shout about the great things we produce and do in the UK, especially from the less represented fruit/horticultural industry!”

Each Ambassador has been praised by NFU President – and Harper Adams Honorary Degree holder – Minette Batters.

She said: “Huge congratulations to this years’ successful candidates. Over the past two years, our Student & Young Farmer Ambassadors have been some of the most integral people within the NFU and the wider farming community.

“With the public perception of British farming at an all-time high, it’s never been more important for farmers to tell their story. I look forward to working with this new group of young people to showcase the vital role farming plays not only producing our food, protecting and enhancing our environment, and rearing livestock to world-leading standards, but with a clear focus for British agriculture to be net zero by 2040.

“There’s a brilliant range of agricultural roles represented by this group which is really exciting.

“From telling the fantastic story of British farming and sharing their own inspiring journeys, to working to further improve our industry, the next 12 months will be incredibly interesting. I can’t wait to see what mark this cohort will make and what we can achieve together.”

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