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Young Farmer Focus: Imogen Christmas - 'Even with a lack of experience, there are so many opportunities'

Imogen Christmas, 20, is a student at Harper Adams University, despite not being from a farming background. She is hoping to secure a job in agronomy.

Study: I found it difficult to get the experience needed to get into university, but managed to gain a place on the new access to agriculture programme which allowed me to gain the required experience during my first year.

 

I got a job on a mixed farm where I was thrown into the deep end and immersed myself in farming life. I had to get to grips with lambing fairly quickly, which was a challenge – albeit a welcome one.

 

I had day-to-day jobs of feeding the ewes and lambs which were born in February, and the cattle too. The flock which I helped to look after had pedigree Ryelands which have won top prizes at shows around the UK.

 

Showing: This sparked an interest in the art of showing sheep, as it opened my eyes to the time and effort that goes into training and grooming them for every show.

 

My boss was also not born into farming and was a tenant on a local council farm, which gave them the step they needed to grow their business.

 

Sadly, this year the land has been sold for housing developments, meaning that my boss had to find a new tenancy.


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Due to the large increase in land prices in Hampshire, they decided to look to Wales for somewhere affordable to set up camp.

 

Next steps: This has given me an insight into the troubles people face when getting into the industry and how it can affect a business when it is just getting started.

 

Next year will be my placement year at university, but I have found it difficult to find a job in my area of interest.

 

I have a keen interest in agronomy, so was looking for a job in crop trials and was invited to interviews with six businesses.

 

I managed to secure a job with Bayer Crop Science on my final interview, which was a relief.

 

Going through the interview process, I felt that I had a disadvantage due to my lack of arable experience, however with a bit of perseverance I got the job that was right for me.

 

My experiences in the industry so far have showed me that even with a lack of practical experience there are so many opportunities and help there if you need it.

For more information:

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