Adam Sutcliffe, 24, has just finished his final year exams in agricultural and farm business management at Harper Adams University. He now works as the assistant farm manager at Percy Farms, Northumberland.
Growing up: Having come from a non-farming background with my father being ex-military and my mother in the dental industry, agriculture seems worlds apart.
However, there is farming in our blood, with my mother’s grandfather managing a fresh fruit farm in Kent.
I have been lucky enough to travel the world and experience many different cultures before settling down at our current home in rural Somerset.
After leaving school I was not sure if university was for me, but I was certain that I wanted to be in the agricultural industry.
I therefore went to Australia having secured a job on an arable and sheep farm, before travelling the majority of the country.
I then decided to take another year out, deferring my place at Harper Adams, for a second to trip to Australia as well as to work the harvest in the Scottish Borders.
It was at this point I realised I aspired to become a farm manager and decided to start my university course in 2014.
Career: After four years at Harper Adams I am now fortunate enough to be appointed the assistant farm manager at Percy Farms in Alnwick, Northumberland, as well as undergoing the management training scheme (MTS) through Velcourt.
Having already spent a week at the farm over Easter – whilst juggling my dissertation – I am now excited to join the ‘real world’ and eager to take on the challenge ahead of me.
Northumberland Estates owns some 40,500 hectares (100,000 acres), the majority of which is tenanted.
However, about 2428 hectares (6000 acres) is farmed in-hand by Percy Farms and managed by Velcourt.
Conservation and sustainable farming work hand-in-hand throughout the estate, with an award-winning grey partridge conservation project covering approximately 80 per cent of the arable acreage.
The farm also prides itself upon the use of up-to-date technology and farming techniques to ensure accuracy and reliability during farming operations.
My role at Percy will be mixed, based in the office as well as practical, allowing me to gain first-hand experience of a manager’s role within a large arable enterprise.
I will be predominately assisting the farm manager to achieve budgeted financial and production targets, as well as enrolling on the MTS for 12 months from this October.
Future: There is no doubt the future of British Farming is unclear with the risk and uncertainty of Brexit on the horizon.
With anticipated change to the current subsidy system, farmers’ bottom line profits will be squeezed even further than they already are, but the industry is confident in our knowledge and abilities – with many of us willing to adapt and make changes where required.