Ben Shoreman, 20, has just completed an agriculture degree at Scotland’s Rural University College (SRUC) Ayr Campus, with plans to head to New Zealand to further his understanding of the farming industry. He is also a member of Stranraer and Rhins YFC and works for a local contractor.
Growing up: Agriculture is probably not the first career choice that springs to mind for the son of a man who works at one of the world’s largest oil exploration companies. But it was during a five-year expat posting to Norway as a child that I found my love for farming.
During this time, aged 10, I developed a great friendship with the local farmer who took me under his wing and began to teach me the inner workings of a farm.
Over the next few years I donated almost every spare school holiday and weekend I had to mucking in on the farm – in return for lessons on how to drive a tractor and milk cows.
I returned home with my parents and two brothers to Aberdeen in 2010, where my determination to learn more about the industry continued.
YFC: When leaving home at 17 to live and work with family on a farm in Dumfries and Galloway, I joined Stewartry Young Farmers Club (YFC) and latterly Stranraer and Rhins YFC.
Through these two fantastic clubs, I began to meet a breed of Young Farmers known in Scotland as the ‘Westies’, well-reputed for their outgoing attitude.
It was thanks to the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs movement that I began to come out of my shell and have since been involved in speechmaking, annual variety concerts, talent spotting competitions and last year I was vice chairman of Stranraer and Rhins YFC.
Talent spotting has been a particularly great thing to be a part of and a real confidence booster which, last year, led me to end up barely clad on stage in front of 3,000 people at the SEC Armadillo in Glasgow, dancing along to Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
Focus: My parents always insisted I should further my education and now, having completed a BSc in agriculture, I can honestly say I am glad that for once I listened to them.
I have lost count of how many times I have been told by a colleague: “You do not need a degree to drive a tractor.”
Three years of study has, however, taught me the science behind the practice, as well as gaining a new mentality that hopefully will help me further my career.
Travel: Earlier this month saw 42 of SRUC’s third-year agriculture students travel to Southern Germany on study tour, to round off three years of hard work.
The whole experience was a refreshing eye-opener to an entirely different attitude towards farming – and how important diversification and education are.
Moving into my next chapter, I am looking forward to travelling back to my birth country, New Zealand, to undertake a working holiday over the summer season.
Upon my return, I aim to apply for an assistant farm management position. I am very excited to see how things pan out but, until then, a good few months of tractors, sun and sights are in order.