Meg Watkins, 18, helps on the 54-hectare (135-acre) family farm running a flock of pedigree Texel sheep. She was recently awarded one of four 2018 NFU Mutual undergraduate bursary award’s which she will use to fund her four-year course at Harper Adams University studying agricultural business.
Producers: Harper Adams has a fantastic reputation as an innovative university and I have been amazed to see the range of careers in agriculture and the food industry that are open to students.
I am very keen on the marketing side of food production and am a passionate believer British food should be on the shelves of all our supermarkets.
While there is huge uncertainty about the future economic prospects for farmers, we have got to look for the positives.
The huge changes in farming we are facing will be positive because they mean farmers are trying to look at the ways they farm and update their businesses to meet the challenges of the future.
But hill farmers are faced with some huge barriers. You are limited by the weather and poor land, so there is often only a limited range of practical farming enterprises open to you.
You have to understand what your land can produce and identify the markets that match the farm to maximise returns.
Young leaders: Young Farmers is a fantastic group to be a part of and helps those wanting to make a career in the industry. I have been a member of Craswall Young Farmers since I was 10 and more recently served as the club secretary.
I am also a national winner of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC) stock judging competition – something I have been brought up with in my family through experience showing sheep at the Royal Welsh Show.
Today you have to be switched on to the latest technology and food trends, so it is vital to go to shows, meetings and conferences. Farming is friendly, so you will always find experts who can help you.
There is no better way to make friends than through Young Farmers.
Farm safety: I was a recent finalist in the NFYFC national public speaking competition where my talk was on improving farm safety.
I showcased the work done by the Yellow Wellies campaign to educate young people in agriculture on avoiding the hazards which often lead to injuries and deaths.
We have to be more proactive and see the rules and regulations about safe working as our friend and not our enemy.
Local farmers I know have been involved in tragic accidents. Taking safety seriously is vital for today’s farmers who often work alone and are often using powerful machinery, which can be very dangerous if not treated with respect.