Alice Clews, 21, is a second year student at Harper Adams University. Although not from a farming family, Alice has been involved in various aspects of agriculture since joining Young Farmers in 2009.
Placement: After finishing my second year exams in the middle of June, the last few weeks have been busy in preparation to start my placement year.
I was able to attend Cereals for the day before completing a National Proficiency Tests Council tractor driving course at Harper Adams University.
Over the last week, activities in Young Farmers have included competing and representing Yorkshire YFC at the Northern Area weekend in the intermediate butchers lamb stock judging, and coming fourth in the team efficiency with safety competition, as well as preparing a trail for a future YFC car treasure hunt meeting.
This month, as part of a National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs team travel trip, 10 Young Farmers and I will be travelling to Jamaica to volunteer at the Christiana Potato Growers Cooperative Association for two weeks.
Work will include activities in the supply chain, research and tissue culture development as well as work in the greenhouses and domestic market development.
Challenges: As a young person, particularly a young woman, in agriculture, there are a number of challenges I face in the industry.
Although difficult at times, I have found working in agriculture and gaining new experiences especially rewarding.
Alongside studying A-levels, including biology in 2014, I developed a particular interest in plant science in terms of growth and management techniques.
This, therefore, pointed me in the direction of applying to Harper Adams to study agriculture with crop management in September 2014.
Opportunities: As one of only five girls on the course, it is clear this is a particularly male dominated subject, but I feel this can only provide more opportunities.
In December last year, I was awarded the Syngenta scholarship, which also includes an industrial work placement at the company’s crop trials site in Whittlesford, Cambridge.
In terms of the future, I see my placement year at Syngenta to be the most important stepping stone for me.
Once I complete my course, I hope I will be able to secure a a position on a post-graduate training programme with an agronomy firm and become a trainee agronomist.
With the current instability of the UK Government and volatility of agricultural markets, I look forward to what will be a challenging but hopefully exciting few years ahead as I work to find my place in the industry and help improve quality and production for our world’s ever increasing population.
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