John Hunt, 22, is a Harper Adams graduate from Woburn, Cambridgeshire, and is set to start work as a business analyst for the G’s Group, a national salad producer.
This summer is going to be rather different for me, and not just because of the global pandemic we are currently facing. For the first time in several years, I am not focused on the approaching harvest season, or preparing for sheep sales and incoming turkey poults to my family’s farm in Bedfordshire.
Instead, I am currently writing a dissertation on the direction of agri-environmental policy post-Brexit. This is particularly poignant in the context of the recent reaction to the Agriculture Bill and the success of the NFU Back British Farming campaign.
Despite my interest in the topic and its obvious importance to everyone involved in farming, I will be very glad to be finished, as being sat at a desk in the best part of summer is very overrated.
This will sadly bring my student days to an end, finishing a year-long masters at Harper Adams University, after three years studying economics at Exeter.
Once my dissertation is completed in August, I am going to be starting work as a graduate business analyst for the G’s Group, based in Cambridgeshire.
I am extremely excited about the prospect of working for one of the largest fresh produce companies in the UK and one of farming’s most innovative companies. While I will be partly office-based and focused on reviewing performance and financial data across the group and its enterprises, I am very much looking forward to getting out in the field and seeing operations across the group’s farms, nurseries and packing plants to bring those numbers to life.
It will also provide a great opportunity to learn about a vast array of different crops and products, including lettuce, celery, and leafy salads, which G’s grows for all the major UK supermarkets.
I also try to get involved with as many industry-related organisations as possible, including backing NFU turkey campaigns and serving on the committee of both Woburn YFC and for a growing young butchers contingent of the Worshipful Company of Butchers.
These have all provided fantastic opportunities to develop wide industry knowledge, socialise, and make great contacts going forward. I would encourage all young people with ambitions in the industry to get involved as much as possible.
While farming constantly faces threats and challenges, especially for younger entrants, I feel very fortunate to be involved in such a key industry and play a part in feeding the nation.
The brief supermarket food scares at the start of lockdown and one million signatures of the food standards petition are testimony to the value and strength of British farming.
Given all this, and having participated in a Defra stakeholder consultation webinar, I am cautiously optimistic about farming having the necessary profile and political clout to secure satisfactory trade conditions and Environmental Land Management schemes post-Brexit.