Despite not coming from an agricultural background, Stephen Evans found himself drawn to Harper Adams to study for a BSc (Hons) Agriculture degree and has now collected the Victor Truesdale Prize for 2023.
After arriving at the Newport-based university, Stephen found himself drawn to working in the pig industry after testing his skills on the Harper Adams farm – and he is now set to take up a role as an animal feed specialist once he graduates.
Stephen said: “I decided that doing a straight agriculture degree was the best option, meaning that I got a general feel for the industry, allowing me to specialise as I progressed.
“Harper Adams is seen as a world-leading institute for agriculture and, with this in mind, I knew it was the place for me.
"I was really impressed to see the new and innovative technology that the farm had to offer.
"The key attraction I found from this day was the lecturing style - of one minute being in a lecture theatre and the next standing on the farm experiencing the theory in live form.
“Harper Adams is a great place to study. Having an onsite farm also gives us the ability to see and experience the material that the lectures provide us with in the flesh.
“Harper’s ability to have a mixed farm I found personally very useful, as it allowed me to get involved with all areas of agriculture and experience my strengths and weaknesses - one strength which was pigs, which I decided to pursue in my placement year.”
To develop his interest and experience further, Stephen applied for the highly sought-after ForFarmers Pig Industry Scholarship, which includes a one-year paid work placement with ForFarmers UK.
He was successful and spent a year immersing in the work of the company around the country.
Stephen said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at ForFarmers as it gave me a strong insight into the Animal Feeds Industry with special reference to the customer supply chain, key accounts, technical support and marketing, I travelled all round the mainland UK meeting with pig producers to provide technical assistance.
"I also got the chance to attend key events within the UK Farming Calendar such as The Pig Awards and Pig & Poultry Fair.
“The skills and knowledge that I obtained through my experience in industry have proved to be vital as I work towards re-entering the industry on graduation.”
ForFarmers UK is supporting Stephen with a further Pig Industry Scholarship in his final year, and once he completes his degree, he will take up a role with them as UK Young Animal Feeds Specialist.
He added: “The job role allows me to travel all over the UK and provide technical sales support to customers and prospects. There is also the component of traveling abroad with my work, which will allow me to experience global agriculture.”