Posted 22 October 2008
Harper Adams student Chris Manley is celebrating after scooping a NFU/Dairy Crest Scholarship Award.
Chris, 24, won the White Gold award of £1,000 after successfully navigating his way through the application and interview process for the South West awards.
The BSc hons Agriculture student, from Hemyock, near Cullompton, in East Devon, said: “It was highly competitive. I applied, had a first interview and was then selected for the final six.
“We all went to Duchy College and were interviewed for about 15 minutes by a panel of highly regarded experts from companies including Wiseman, Wyke Farms, AB Agri and Dairy Crest; and the NFU.
“I was being grilled from all directions, they wanted to know who I am and where I am from, then what I am studying and what my future plans are; they tested my knowledge of the industry – local national and global – and asked some tough questions. I had prepared for that and researched all the current issues and topics I might be asked about – but it was hard work.
“It all paid off and I won £1,000, which was the AB Agri scholarship. It was great to win the money, but it was about so much more than that to me – it was about meeting the right people and making connections. The people on the panel are well placed and highly respected, so it was all extremely worthwhile.
“I would like to thank the organisers and sponsors for giving up their time to make the awards possible.”
The six strong judging panel was very impressed with Christopher’s commitment to agriculture and enthusiasm for the UK dairy industry in particular.
Tim Oliver, who presented Chris with his award, said: “White Gold is committed to the UK farming industry and is delighted to support the work of the Dairy Crest/NFU Fund through the provision of this special award”.
White Gold is a Division of AB Agri Ltd, the Agricultural Group of Associated British Foods plc. White Gold assists dairy farmers in achieving the Assured Dairy Farm standards by giving advice in this area and guidance on compliance with legislation and regulations affecting dairy farms. White Gold has a team of eleven advisers across the UK.
Final year student Chris is a former pupil of Uffculme Secondary School and Richard Huish College, Somerset. His family runs a mixed dairy beef and sheep farm - and diversity was key when he went on placement during the third year of his Harper Adams degree.
“I was at Sheepdrove Organic Farm in Lambourn, Berkshire. It was great. This business is very diverse and the placement was set up so that I could experience every part of it. I had a week in the Bristol farm shop and spent some time in processing, but the highlight was an open farm Sunday in June this year.
“They run tractor and trailer tours and the Farm Manager did one and they asked me to do the other. They are 40 minute tours and I must have got through about 250 people! It was such a good experience as I really enjoy public speaking, and they put real faith in me and my knowledge of the business – they didn’t have to ask me to do it, but I’m glad they did.”
Chris is a member of Culm Valley Young Farmers and is a past social secretary. He was also the Harper Adams Student Union sports and societies rep in his second year and continues to be an agriculture course rep, as well as a student warden – looking out for the first years in Harris Hall – and playing football for the Harper Adams second team.
For his final year research project, Chris is conducting a beef cattle feed trial, assisted by AB Agri.