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“Agriculture is more than a job to me; it’s a way of life”

Posted 10 May

"Who would’ve thought that walking in the drizzle and through the muddy fields of the family farm in Ireland would eventually lead me wanting to pursue a career in agriculture?"

Sophie Thornton with the other Cargill Meats Europe, British Poultry Council scholars and the Chairman of the Brisith Poultry Council John Reed

Sophie Thornton with the other Cargill Meats Europe, British Poultry Council scholars and the Chairman of the Brisith Poultry Council John Reed

Spending time on the family farm in Ireland during holidays and weekends has led to Sophie Thornton’s wanting to have a career in agriculture.

The BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Marketing student has been awarded a British Poultry Council (BPC) scholarship with a placement year with Cargill to help her reach her goal by providing the chance to experience a part of the sector she hasn’t had much prior experience in.

The 19 year old from near Howden, Yorkshire, said: "Who would’ve thought that walking in the drizzle and through the muddy fields of the family farm in Ireland would eventually lead me wanting to pursue a career in agriculture?

“Agriculture is more than a job or a source of income to me; it’s a way of life.

“My interest lies in the journey from field to fork, where the glamour of marketing is just as important as the muck of production.

“Unlike most of my classmates, I didn’t grow-up on a farm. However, living in a small countryside village in East Yorkshire, I was immersed in the farming way of life.

“I’d help local farmers and often spent weekends and holidays working alongside my dad and uncle on the family farm in Ireland. It was clear to me that I wanted to learn more than simply fattening a small herd of cattle, so studying agriculture and marketing at Harper Adams was an unmissable opportunity.

“Starting university in 2015, I thought it was important to have an in-depth knowledge of each sub-sector as well as develop a universal understanding of the agricultural industry.

“Poultry is currently seen as a healthy alternative to red meat and accounts for 49% of all the meat consumption. My experience in poultry is virtually non-existent; yet I’ve an abundance of interest in learning about the industry with a desire to learn from the innovation, efficiencies and sustainability which drive the sector.

“I see this BPC scholarship with a placement year at Cargill as a fantastic opportunity to get fully immersed within the industry.

“By attending the scholarship fairs in 2015 and 2016, I know that Cargill offers a unique placement, which will enhance my career by teaching me first-hand how different departments function and will give me exposure to working in a diverse international setting.

“With the money from the scholarship, I plan to attend a number of poultry conferences. With any remaining funds, I hope to organise a study tour visiting poultry farms with different systems around the UK and Europe.

“The scholarship is a great opportunity to increase my knowledge and learn something new, it’s an honour to have been given it.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work, time and effort but it is a marvelous feeling to know that it is paying off.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work for such a well-known company who are at the front of the poultry industry. I’m very excited to start work; July cannot come around soon enough. The BPC scholarship will provide me with an excellent opportunity to further my studies, gaining the experience needed to begin a career within the poultry industry. I’d like to thank both the BPC and Cargill for providing me with this opportunity and I look forward to learning about the poultry industry.”