Student blog - Emily Packman, BSc Agriculture, Year 2


Hi, my name is Emily and I’m in my second year of a BSc Agriculture degree at Hartpury University. First things first, my family aren’t farmers (although I do have some relatives in Ireland who farm) – but the good news is that doesn’t matter! The course has given me plenty of knowledge and the ability to build my own industry contacts for the future.

There’s much more to agriculture than people think. This is a science degree, so you learn the science behind food production. You also gain a touch of veterinary, political, business and technological knowledge as well.

Hartpury’s agriculture degree offers unique experiences to broaden your horizons and think more deeply about how British agriculture can produce more food while tackling climate change and improving animal welfare.

A lot more goes into an agriculture degree than you realise. Here’s an insight into what I’m studying.

Lecturers support you to try new things
I attend lectures three days a week, which leaves the other days free for socialising, studying and placement. Agriculture can be really expansive so there are a lot of different placements available. The lecturers encourage you to try something new, so as long as it’s related to agriculture you can do it with their full support!

For my Ruminant Livestock Production module, I have two lecturers, specialising in cows and sheep, which gives you an in-depth knowledge about each animal. The practical sessions allow you to gain hands-on experience and are great for bonding with other students – especially in the first year!

I’ve learned about assurance schemes, animal welfare, law and legislation in my Agricultural Policies module which gives you an insight into the standards food needs to make it to the shop!

Undergraduate Research Process is all about preparing you for your dissertation and the different research methods you can use. This includes animal and veterinary nursing students too, so it’s a good opportunity to mingle and make friends.

My Farm Business Management module focuses on farm business production and economic performance. This module is very maths based and my lecturer referred me to the Achievement and Success Centre (ASC) for extra support with my maths. The ASC staff have been amazing and go above and beyond to help.

My Agricultural Technologies lecturer has such an infectious enjoyment of crops that I did my assignment on arable technology – even though I had no interest in arable farming before!

The Pig and Poultry Lecture started in semester two and it has a really nice range of trips, from hatcheries to outdoor pig systems. You get to see each stage of production in different farming systems. Recently, we’ve had talks from geneticists, Tesco, Red Tractor and RSPCA assurance. I found these really informative and having that knowledge of the industry is really beneficial.

It’s so easy to make friends at Hartpury
As well as studying, I’m also a student ambassador and a member of the Students’ Union. These are both great ways to meet people who aren’t on the same course as you. As Hartpury is a specialist university, talking with people on different courses isn’t difficult as you usually have similar interests. It’s a great way to make friends with people outside your course.

During lunchtime, I head to the library or go to the Royal Exchange pub or St George’s bakery, which are really close by and student friendly. Both do really good food! There’s also Costa on campus, in Red & Black café and Legends bar, which is perfect when you don’t have long between lectures.

I want to write policy that makes a difference
I’m a part of the NFU Speakers for School programme, which means I’ll be going into schools and talking about agriculture. There’s a real gap in education when it comes to farming and what farmers do. As I am from a teaching background, I have a real opportunity to combine my experience with my knowledge of agriculture.

I plan on going into policy writing or agricultural journalism when I finish my degree with animal welfare being the centre of my career plan. The UK agricultural industry has one of the best animal welfare statuses in the world, with the aim of still being better.

Read emily's work placement blog

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