Posted 4 October 2023
“From a young age, my passion for this industry has been my driving force. Coming from a non-farming background, I saw it as a challenge to overcome, and I did just that."
A Harper Adams alumnus has been shortlisted for a second Agriculture Student of the Year award – shortly after celebrating his graduation.
BSc (Hons) Agriculture graduate Stephen, from Fintona, Co. Tyrone, was already one of two Harper Adams students to be named in the final three candidates for Agricultural Student of the Year in the British Farming Awards, set to be announced in Birmingham later this month.
He has now also been named on the shortlist for Northern Ireland Agricultural Student of the Year at the annual Farming Life awards, which will be awarded at a glittering ceremony in Belfast’s Crowne Plaza hotel on October 11.
Being shortlisted for both awards has capped a stellar final year at Harper Adams for Stephen.
He said: “I’m truly honoured to be shortlisted for the Agriculture Student of the Year at the Farming Life Awards in Northern Ireland.
“I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to my family, friends, Harper Adams in Ireland and the University team for their unwavering support throughout this incredible journey.”
Despite not originally coming from an agricultural background, Stephen had secured his first role in the industry before even finishing his studies, and was named a winner of the Victor Truesdale prize at this year’s Harper Ireland Club dinner. The Trusesdale prize honours the student from Ireland deemed to have made the greatest contribution to life at the University.
He is now employed with ForFarmers UK as UK Young Animal Feeds Specialist, a role which followed on from his placement year work – which, in turn, he secured after applying for the highly-sought after ForFarmers Pig Industry Scholarship.
The Scholarship entailed a paid placement with the company, who also supported him with a further Pig Industry Scholarship during his final year.
Stephen’s latest award shortlisting has been welcomed by Dr Russell Readman, who said: “It is great to see Stephen shortlisted for another award. He is an example of a young man from a non-farm background who has worked hard to get into the sector and is committed to a career in UK agriculture.
“He clearly demonstrated commitment to his studies, the wider aspects of the University life and to the sector – and I wish him the best of luck with his future career.”
And Stephen added: “From a young age, my passion for this industry has been my driving force.
“Coming from a non-farming background, I saw it as a challenge to overcome, and I did just that.
“My dedication lies in making the industry a more sustainable and attractive place for people of similar ages and backgrounds to me.”