Shropshire student Annabel's new role at beef brand

By Rob Smith | Newport | News | Published:

A Shropshire student who spent half a year working at an Australian cattle station has earned a role at a top beef business.

Annabel Palmer

Harper Adams University graduate Annabel Palmer has gone from strength to strength. Originally rejected from the university near Newport after her A-levels, she attended another agricultural university.

Persuaded by her parents, particularly her Harper Adams alum father, Annabel applied to Harper Adams, but having not achieved the expected grades, she went to another institution where she found herself unhappy.

When attending the Harper Adams freshers ball with a friend, she immediately felt at home. She took the initiative and spoke to a lecturer who told her that a space had opened up, so she packed her bags and began her studies at Harper Adams, halfway through the first semester of her first year.

Annabel said: “My favourite memories are definitely of the balls and social events – I think you'd be hard pushed to find someone who said otherwise, but Harper gave me some much-needed self-confidence and has opened doors to so many opportunities during and following my time there.”

She thrived on her course, and worked hard to graduate with a First Class degree in Business Management and Marketing, spending her placement year working in the university's shows and events team.

"I initially disliked the idea of a placement, but in hindsight, my year in shows and events was such a valuable experience and I would recommend a placement year to anyone now," she said.

“As quite a quiet and shy student, standing on a show stand constantly talking to potential students, figures of industry, alumni and the general public was a bit daunting at the time, but it was just what I needed.” 



After graduating, Annabel took a gap year: riding event horses, travelling and working for her family business while she decided what she wanted to do.

In 2018, a three-week holiday in New Zealand quickly turned into a full year away, which included six months working on an Australian cattle station.

When she returned home, her experience at Harper Adams caught the attention of agricultural company Buitelaar and she was approached for the unique position of commercial assistant to the managing director Adam Buitelaar.

Buitelaar runs an integrated beef supply chain with a focus on British rosé veal and beef.


Annabel said: "Like Harper, Buitelaar has a work hard, play hard attitude and working with such a fun, like-minded team means work doesn’t really feel like work.

"My role is incredibly varied and has given me exposure to all business areas, whilst shadowing Adam, the managing director. The last eight months has been a real learning curve, but I feel privileged to have a job that I thoroughly enjoy.”

Adam Buitelaar said: “Annabel has shadowed myself since the beginning of the year and in this time she has worked with supply chain farmers, retailers and restaurant owners. She is a credit to Harper Adams and in a short time, she's managed to tick every box Buitelaar has for a team member. My motto is to train people well enough that they can go anywhere, but treat them well enough that they want to stay."

Learm more about Harper Adams at

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.


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