UCAS Listings: `It was designed to cover a lot of ground - it was hard work'

Economics, conservation, marketing and animal science were all covered in Diana Pritchard's agricultural degree

Conservation is going to be far more in the forefront of farmer's minds in the future, according to agricultural student, Diana Pritchard. Diana has just graduated with a BSc Hons degree in agriculture and land management from the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, and is now hoping to embark on a career in agricultural consultancy before eventually taking over her parent's farm in Shropshire.

"The need for conservation has become an integral part of the course," says Diana, who went to the college as a mature student after working in both this country and abroad. She has, over the summer, set up a number of conservation projects on her home farm.

"Conservation will play a much greater role and farmers will have to consider environmentally sensitive methods to justify the subsidies they receive," she says.

Before joining the college, Diana worked on farms in America, China and Africa. She says most of the students on her course - which was far more theoretical than practical - had some experience of the practicalities of working on a farm. "Most of us could drive tractors," she says. The course, she says, was varied and intensive. "It was designed to cover a lot of ground, and it was extremely hard work."

Agriculture now is a huge industry and to be a success, detailed knowledge of crop science, modern farming methods, business plans, marketing and land management is required.

There is far more to running a farm or working in the agricultural industry than meets the eye. Diana says: "The course was run on a modular system. We covered current EU requirements on the environment - some members of the course went to visit the European parliament - economics, marketing, agricultural development, animal science, crop science management... You name it, we covered it!"

She says the course was ideal because each student could tailor the course by choosing modules to suit their own needs. Diana specialised in wheat and maize production.

The course can be run over three or four years, including a sandwich year.

Diana says: "Many students went overseas for their year out, and I was lucky enough to get a placement at the International Research Centre for Wheat and Maize Improvement in Mexico. It was wonderful living out there - and the research was fascinating - in to genetic modifications in wheat and maize and their hybridisation."

The course did not involve the highly practical aspects like tractor driving, land spraying, dry-stone walling and farm mechanisation, but the college offers these as short land-based courses. Others members of her course have gone back to run their own farms, or in to estate management, marketing or overseas agricultural consultancies. Diana is now carrying out a research project for the college, and aims to set up a freelance consultancy.

While most people automatically associate agricultural colleges with farming, the courses offered are much more varied.

Paul Williams is currently taking an honours degree in landscape and amenity management at Writtle College in Essex, which follows on very neatly from his five years working for a local council in the parks department. "I wanted a qualification which would improve my career prospects. In the first year we covered landscape maintenance, mechanisation, biochemistry, pests and diseases. Last term we also did lots of management theory," he says. Paul admits he has found the course "a struggle", but says it is extremely well taught.

Like Diana's course, students go out on lots of visits but most of the course is taught through lectures. Paul did get his hands on a tractor, however, as the course offers tractor driving skills and mechanisation. But he managed to crash it.

Paul says: "There is the possibility of a year out on a work placement, and lots of people go abroad, but I feel I need to get on and get back in to industry."

In future he hopes to work in the development of parks.

"We now have heritage parks - they're much more trendy than they used to be," he says.

"There is quite a lot of lottery funding for development, and my own feeling is that parks should be much more natural - not all neat rows of bedding plants, but wild-flower meadows and wide open spaces."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Female Support Workers / Carers - From £8.00 per hour

    £8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

    Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

    £55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...

    Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

    Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...

    Day In a Page

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines