The Pig Industry Scholarship is helping to encourage talented young people to explore the many exciting opportunities the sector offers new entrants. Coming to the end of her 12- month placement at Red Tractor Harper Adams student Cara Moore reflects on her experience.
“Having the opportunity to work at Red Tractor for my industry placement year as part of my university course has been a massively beneficial learning experience. I’ve learnt a great deal from the Technical Managers at Red Tractor, who are all passionate about British Agriculture and are experts in their field. While the scholarship is focused on the pig sector, over the year I’ve also had lots of exposure to other livestock sectors, combinable crops and the fresh produce industries.
As part of her experience, the animal production science student met with all the departments which make up the Red Tractor team- technical, finance, marketing, commercial and communications. Cara went on to take part in many stakeholder meetings throughout the year, which provided her with insights into a broad range of topics, and the chance to connect with people from the wider supply chain.
Cara said “From having a limited knowledge of assurance and standards, I have had such a useful insight into the entire process of farm assurance throughout the food chain. I have been able to sit in on meetings with certification bodies, vets, supermarket representatives and other stakeholders to discuss the role of standards, and the challenges and opportunities the industry faces and projects for the future.”
Georgina McDowell, Red Tractor Pigs Technical Manager said “At first, Covid made it harder to get out on farm. But once restrictions were lifted, it was important that Cara had the opportunity to go out on farm to meet our members and spend some time shadowing farm auditors, visiting abattoir facilities and representing Red Tractor at industry events like the Pigs Tomorrow Conference and the Pig & Poultry Fair.
“We are delighted to be taking part in the scholarship program again this year. Investing in the next generation of food professionals is especially important for the pig sector”
The opportunity meant that Cara, who’s family farm is in Northern Ireland, spent a significant amount of time in England and London.
She said” I learnt so much, not just at work but because the scholarship meant having grown up in a small rural area, for the first time I was living in a large city. So outside of working hours I was able to eat out in new places, meet new people and indulge my love of water sports by joining. one of the most successful female rowing clubs in the country. I have also loved being a tourist and finding lots of new and interesting spots in the city! Without Red Tractor, none of this would have been possible, my placement year has been so memorable”
Cara is particularly interested in sustainability in farming. Once she completes her final year of studies, she plans to continue to study this area of agriculture as well as looking for job opportunities.