Posted 3 July 2007
Final-year students Thomas Buckley, David Hope, Daniel Lewis and Victoria Lawder have been highly commended in the 2007 Farmplanner of the Year Award.
The Harper Adams students, who have just completed their BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Land and Farm Management degrees, were part of a successful team that were finalists in the competition that was arranged by the Institute of Agricultural Management (IAgrM). Students from various universities that provide land-based studies were invited to the Stoughton Estate, Leicestershire to observe how a very large farming operation is managed. The Stoughton Estate is part of the Co-operative Groups, which is Britain’s largest farmer. Participating students were then set a number of challenging questions.
The group prepared a report and presentation that outlined various suggestions on management practices and were specifically to consider how the Estate could develop strategically over the coming years and how it could add value to existing enterprises, the impacts of the working time directive, the opportunities of renewable energy and its role in improving the understanding of countryside and agricultural matters for school children.
After Farm Business Management lecturer Tony Asson submitted their report to the judging panel, the Harper Adams group were short-listed and invited to the national finals at the Royal Show. On Monday they presented their proposals and business plan along with the two other finalists Writtle College and Reading University. Harper Adams were runners-up in the competition to Reading, but reaching the finals is an achievement in itself.
The head of the judging panel, Chairman of IAgrM, David Ansell said that “Harper Adams’ project was an example of the innovative thinking and I particularly liked the proposals concerning education. All three presentations were excellent and it was extremely difficult to separate the finalists.” Further praise was received from the Jane King Editor of the Farmers Weekly and Nick Padwick from the Stoughton Estate.
Tony Asson praised the group saying “The group carried out a thorough analysis of the existing business and then put some well-thought out initiatives into a very convincing report. They are ambitious individuals that work effectively as a team.”
Harper Adams University College Principal, Professor Wynne Jones said “We are extremely proud of our students’ winning achievement. Their commitment and ability will set them in very good stead towards their future careers.” He continues “Leaders in the agricultural and land-based industries should be very pleased that such high quality young people are leaving higher education and are seeking opportunities to take the industry that is seeing major change and challenges forward.”
The national awards, which are sponsored by Farmers Weekly, Farmplan and HSBC, set a unique challenge for students to demonstrate their potential. Competitors had to demonstrate sound business management skills which are essential for securing a successful future in the rural economy.
The IAgrM aims to maintain and improve the standards of practice of agricultural management, to advance and promote all aspects of agricultural management and to encourage the study of agriculture.
The group said “We are delighted to receive recognition from the Institute of Agricultural Management. At the presentations we were impressed by the standard of work from all the Colleges and the variety of ideas and solutions we all came up with. It is encouraging to know that we are getting quality tuition at Harper and our thanks go to Tony for his support and encouragement throughout the project.”