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Matthew Rollason: 'Brexit is perhaps the greatest political change this country will have faced since World War Two'

Matthew Rollason, 21, is studying agriculture with animal science at Harper Adams University. He has previous experience working on dairy, beef and sheep farms across the North West.

Travel: For as long as I can remember, I have only ever considered a career in agriculture, despite my non-farming background.

 

I decided to join the local Bury Agricultural Show aged 10, and began exhibiting Hereford cattle from the Massey family’s respected Hollyvale herd.

 

This early interest would develop into a passion for cattle breeding and bring future opportunities my younger self could never have imagined.

 

Some 10 years on, I was fortunate enough to be awarded a bursary from the Hereford Cattle Society in 2016 to attend the 17th World Hereford Conference in Uruguay.

 

While our delegation viewed the best of beef production in the Southern hemisphere, I met the Sykes family from the world famous Mawarra stud in Victoria, Australia.

 

By summer last year, I was about to embark on a three-month working visit to Mawarra’s 350-cow operation, which was an opportunity I was not going to miss.

 

The world is more readily accessible than ever and I recommend any young person reading this to seriously consider the opportunities global agriculture can offer.

 

Youth: Back on home turf, I am an active member, and now junior representative, of the North of England Hereford Breeders Association (NEHBA).

 

My role involves co-ordinating the NEHBA youth programme, as well as supporting the UK Hereford youth group.

 

I think these initiatives are fundamentally important for the industry, providing young breeders with a platform for knowledge exchange, networking and skills development.

 

After completing my third-year placement with Cogent Breeding, I am now in my fourth and final year of studying BSc agriculture and animal science at Harper Adams University.

 

Following graduation, I will start my new job in Essex with Derek Kelly Beef and its sister company Kelly Bronze Turkeys.

 

I am looking forward to developing the beef enterprise, managing the Aberdeen-Angus and Wagyu breeding programme and supplying a unique range of products to burgeoning premium markets.

 

Brexit: During my relatively short time in this industry, change has remained the perpetual theme.

 

Brexit is perhaps the greatest political change this country will have faced since World War Two and, for many in UK farming, uncertainty remains the overriding concern.

 

However, this will only be eased if we start to develop sustainable systems which are robust enough to cope in any conceivable scenario without direct subsidy support.

 

Make no mistake; we sit on the edge of a seismic shift which will undoubtedly revolutionise farming as we know it today.

 

But by embracing change, we can grasp opportunities ahead and enable British agriculture to succeed far greater than any of us had previously imagined.


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