The Kent County Agricultural Society Scholarship Scheme was set up three years ago to help fund up to nine students through their degree courses for each year of their studies. The Society looks forward to working with these individuals in developing a pro-active group of youth ambassadors over the next few years.

Find out what the Kent Rural Scholars have been up to during their first year at University and how the Society’s funding has helped them in furthering their studies.

For more information about the KCAS Scholarship Scheme, click here.

 

2018 Scholarship Students 

Georgina Francesconi, Agriculture at Nottingham University.

Halfway through the first term and all is going well so far. The first week or so was a general introduction to the course and life at university, before beginning the modules for this term. So far these have included broad modules that will help set the foundation for the rest of the course, such as genes and cells, and biochemistry. We have also begun to look at Global Food Security. Within this we have been looking at how an ever-growing population as well as economic and social changes will impact on agriculture in the future. Fortunately, this has some links to the essay that my tutor group has been set; looking at what advances will be needed in agricultural science and technology for sustainable food production in the future.

This term also focuses more on the animal side of Agriculture, looking at the basis of animal evolution and development as well as how animal production systems have been developed, allowing us to understand how animal product quality can be improved. As we start to finish lab practical’s the coursework assessments have begun to be set, which will thankfully be the only assessed parts for this term with the exams taking place in January.

 

Briony Balcombe, Animal Science at Writtle University College.

I am eight weeks into my Animal Science degree at Writtle University College and so far, it has gone really well. I managed to settle into the halls of residence quite quickly and made it feel like home. The first week which I moved in was fresher’s week which enabled me to meet some new friends and fellow people on my course. I had inductions to the course for the first two weeks where we learnt the basic lab health and safety and all about the course. We then started the teaching in the second week where we began three units, these being; Mammalian Animal Philosophy, Principles of Animal Management and Biological Processes. I have one lecture and one practical a week for each of these units. I find this way I can apply what I have learnt in the lecture to the practicals, which I find very beneficial. Each week I have two laboratory practicals and one practical working with animals. These include; dissections, microscope work, looking at wildlife and accessing the health and welfare of companion animals. It has been really interesting learning about all the different aspects of animals and I’m looking forward to continuing with my course.

 

Henry Overy, Agriculture at Newcastle University

During this summer I worked on my family farm working alongside my uncles on the arable harvest. We started harvesting the oil seed rape around mid-July where I was corn carting. Whilst we were waiting for the wheat to dry I was disking the ex-rape ground to try, and for the oil seed rape volunteers to germinate. We then started the wheat around the beginning of August which was earlier than normal however this was due to the hot weather throughout the summer. In addition, we had a small area of spring barley which we planted for seed in which we cleaned and will then drill this spring. This is a new crop to be put into our rotation to replace second wheat, to try to reduce and fight against black grass.

With the hot weather continuing through August it meant that we also started the beans in late August.

After all the harvest was in the shed, I then swapped trailer for subsoiler and cultivator. The first job was to get all the oil seed rape ground ready for drilling. For the rest of my summer I stayed on the cultivator to turn the ground around ready for this years’ crop. Throughout my summer I captured footage on my GoPro where I then produce a video of the summer harvest which I have recently put on YouTube. I have now started my University Course, studying Agriculture at Newcastle.

 

2017 Scholarship Students 

Guillaume Franklin, Agriculture at Harper Adams University

Surviving ‘Fresher’s’ has been the main hurdle this term, taking part in ‘challenges’ has been part of the settling in process, making the first 2 weeks fly by. It’s been an amazing time making new friends who are not on the same course as me. Once Fresher’s had finished, the learning began, and we got down to work quickly. It’s been incredibly interesting learning about the ideas and thoughts coming out of the university and industry. They see the biggest threats, not surprisingly, as being Brexit and soil compaction and erosion, which will affect all our futures. So far, since coming to Harper Adams University, my knowledge and understanding has increased dramatically in only a short space of time. Using the facilities such as the ‘Soil Hall’, AHDB research plots, dairy and the new labs has been exciting. With end of term exams fast approaching and the assignment deadlines closing in I know my first term at Harper is almost over. Seeing and experiencing the place myself I can quite clearly see that I made the correct choice in enrolling at Harper Adams.  This institution is globally recognised as one of the best agricultural universities and from my point of view it is the best. In the words of the Student Union, ‘work hard, play hard’!

 

Clio Rudgard-Redsell, Veterinary Medicine and Science at Nottingham University

I am now eight weeks into Veterinary Medicine and Science at the University of Nottingham and it feels like I’ve been here my whole life. The first three weeks were mostly introductions to the course, the university and life away from home. Since then every week has been dedicated to a particular area of my first module – the musculoskeletal system. Starting at the basics we were taught about connective tissues and joints and now we’re applying that knowledge to learn each section of the body, most recently the forelimb. Every week we have dissection practicals to apply our knowledge of muscles, bones and joints as well as palpation and radiography practicals to understand the practical element of anatomy and how to image certain areas of the body. Part of the course is also animal health and welfare, so every Thursday afternoon is spent learning the fundamentals of animal handling with different species so that everyone is proficient and safe when they start doing placements.

However, it’s not all work, last weekend was the annual AVS (Association of Veterinary Students) sports weekend in Edinburgh, where students from every vet school from the UK and Ireland meet up for a weekend of sports and fun.

 

Hamish Elliott, Agriculture and Farm Management at Royal Agricultural University (starting September 2018)

I have got a place at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester to study Foundation Agriculture and Farm Management starting in 2018, but first a gap year.

I decided to take a gap year as I thought I would like to explore and discover more before I had to get my head down at university. I have been working on a few different farms and so far, have really enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot of valuable knowledge you can’t get from a book. Firstly, I was working on Haylands arable and dairy farm where I learnt how you can integrate dairy and arable together to boost your profits and make farming in general a lot easier.

More recently I have worked on Westerhill fruit farm where I had a management role of organising fruit pickers and helping to organise the cold stores. This was a very different experience to the dairy. Next, I am off skiing in Les Arcs for five months as a flexi-host. Skiing has always been a passion of mine along with cooking. I decided to work during the ski season as it incorporates both passions and will help with hospitality skills which should be useful in later life. After I finish my season I plan to do a couple of months work for a few new farms to help broaden my knowledge before heading to university in September 2018.

 

2016 Scholarship Students 

See how the three inaugural students have got on since they started university in 2017.

Pip Bradley – BSc International Equine and Agricultural Business Management, Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester

I have just finished my first year studying International Equine and Agricultural Business Management at the Royal Agricultural University and it has been nothing short of amazing. As my degree covers three different points of topics, my week is divided into equine, agricultural and business lectures.

Within the equine part, which is the main focus of my degree, I study Equine Industry, British Bloodstock Production and Equine Bioveterinary Science. I’ve been on numerous trips for the Equine Industry module, including Weatherbys headquarters, Newmarket and the Three Counties Equine Hospital, which were all extremely interesting and beneficial to expanding my knowledge.

Agriculture is worth 20% of my degree but I still have three modules within it – Soil and Environmental Science, Livestock Science and Food Production. I have really enjoyed learning about agriculture as I have had very little experience with it in the past and in my spare time, on a nice day, I enjoy walking around the university farms with the people who study straight agriculture who can tell me more about what they grow on the university farms.

For the business side, I had two modules – Business Environment and Business Management. Both modules were new to me and although they were a challenge, I enjoyed pushing myself.

The scholarship given to me by the Kent County Agricultural Society really helped me this past year, both financially and as a way of motivating me. It has given me an immense sense of pride to know that a Society as big as the KCAS, who does so much within the agricultural and equine world in Kent, has the confidence in me to succeed in my degree.

 

Zac Scott, BSc Agriculture, Harper Adams University

As I finish my first year at Harper Adams University studying Agriculture, I look back on what has been a year of learning and personal development.

This year I have studied a mix of the basic agricultural production systems and more science based modules. In total 8 modules are studied each year, this year I have studied animal production systems, in this we were taught the basics of livestock production covering the main sectors sheep, beef, pigs, dairy and poultry.

I also studied a crop module which explained the basics of arable farming such as crop nutrition, rotations, diseases and pests. As part of the development of the module we looked at individual crops in more depth, for example looking at wheat, the different groups and varieties and management of the crop to meet market specification such as milling wheat.

We have also studied more science based modules such as natural resource science and introduction to bioscience. Natural resource science looks at the environment and what can be done to manage it. This module covered soil science, hydrology and the effects that climate change may have on farming.  We also studied the ecosystems of the soil and how these interact with agriculture. The module introduction to bioscience taught us the basics of plant and animal biology at a cellular and organism level, microbiology was also taught in this module.

Finance management and economics were also studied as well as a marketing module, to understand the basic skills to run and identify successful business.

The funding I have received from the Kent County Agricultural Society has enabled me to take part in additional activities outside of my course that I may not have been able to do without their support.

 

Jacob Taylor – BSc, Forest Management, University of Cumbria

Year 2

In the first semester of my second year at the University of Cumbria, I have completed 3 specialist units of study which have enabled me to further expand my knowledge. These include a second silviculture module, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Research methods and data analysis.

My favourite module this semester has been the GIS module. Geographical Information Systems incorporates different technologies and computer programs that allow you to accurately and professionally show data on electronic maps. Using background maps as a bases, you can create data files called shape files and create different illustrative polygons or map points. Data can then be linked to each shape or point and then using different symbols or colours can show the differences between data types.

Our second silviculture module has enabled me to expand my overall forestry knowledge. We have looked at many different topics surrounding how we grow trees for timber and how this is affected. A main part of this module is ESC (Ecological Site Classification) ESC was created by the Forestry Commission to help land owners and forest managers to effectively classify their site ecological status thus make correct management decisions.

Lastly, in our Research Methods and Data Analysis module, we have learnt a number of skills to help us in our third year when writing our dissertation. We learnt a number of research techniques that can be used to research particular forestry related topics and how we examine and scrutinise results when collecting research data.

During my second semester this year I will complete another 3 modules including Forest Design Planning, Forest Policy and Governance and Forest Health and Protection. Also, in April along with other second year forestry students, I will be going on a lowland study tour in Shropshire to look at the differences between forests in lowland areas, when compared to upland areas such as Scotland.

Finally, I am also planning to take part in the National School of Forestry Work Placement Module. This involves finding and completing a placement with a recognised forestry organisation or business for a year and reporting back to the University. This will enable me to gain relevant and vital experience in the forestry sector which will help in my future career.

In the first semester of my second year at the University of Cumbria, I have completed 3 specialist units of study which have enabled me to further expand my knowledge. These include a second silviculture module, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Research methods and data analysis.

My favourite module this semester has been the GIS module. Geographical Information Systems incorporates different technologies and computer programs that allow you to accurately and professionally show data on electronic maps. Using background maps as a bases, you can create data files called shape files and create different illustrative polygons or map points. Data can then be linked to each shape or point and then using different symbols or colours can show the differences between data types.

Our second silviculture module has enabled me to expand my overall forestry knowledge. We have looked at many different topics surrounding how we grow trees for timber and how this is affected. A main part of this module is ESC (Ecological Site Classification) ESC was created by the Forestry Commission to help land owners and forest managers to effectively classify their site ecological status thus make correct management decisions.

Lastly, in our Research Methods and Data Analysis module, we have learnt a number of skills to help us in our third year when writing our dissertation. We learnt a number of research techniques that can be used to research particular forestry related topics and how we examine and scrutinise results when collecting research data.

During my second semester this year I will complete another 3 modules including Forest Design Planning, Forest Policy and Governance and Forest Health and Protection. Also, in April along with other second year forestry students, I will be going on a lowland study tour in Shropshire to look at the differences between forests in lowland areas, when compared to upland areas such as Scotland.

Finally, I am also planning to take part in the National School of Forestry Work Placement Module. This involves finding and completing a placement with a recognised forestry organisation or business for a year and reporting back to the University. This will enable me to gain relevant and vital experience in the forestry sector which will help in my future career.

Year 1

My first year at the University of Cumbria in Ambleside has been really enjoyable. I have learned a large variety of skills associated with my course, including how to use sample plots to measure large forests, the different processes of woodland harvesting and writing assignments and reports at university level.

Living away from home was at first a challenge, but with time it has become second nature. Thanks to the generosity of the Kent County Agricultural Society, I have been able to purchase the necessary equipment needed for my course and still have a contribution towards my living costs.

Outside of university, I am enjoying a balanced and varied life. I have a part time job in Ambleside which helps with living costs and I have played regularly for Ambleside Rugby Club this season. I enjoy walking on the hills and cycling all around the Lake District.

One of the best moments of the year has been our Upland Study Tour. As part of our course, the study tour allows us to visit forest regions that we would not usually see and to listen to stories of people in our industry. This year, we travelled up to Loch Katrine, to see how the local partnership between 3 large organisations, BP, The Forestry Commission and The Woodland Trust, are allowing the natural regeneration of Sitka spruce by controlling deer numbers and fencing off areas. We then travelled up to the Inverness area to see a forest harvesting site run by Euro Forest Ltd. We also visited sites at Glen Affric, Corrour and Castlemilk, Glasgow.

My favourite aspect of this first year at university is the stupendous scenery. Whether I am going out on a field trip, or walking and cycling in my spare time, everywhere you go there is always something new and beautiful to see. Whilst in the Lake District I have already enjoyed a number of excellent fell walks, such the Fairfield Horseshoe and Wansfell.

This first year at university has broadened my mind in respect of the different aspects of forestry. Coming from a course at Hadlow College which was based around urban forestry and arboriculture, it has been great to learn about how timber is harvested and extracted and how forests are then planted and managed for future harvesting.