Student blog - Joe Goodenough, BSc Agriculture, Year 1


Hi, I’m Joe and I’m just finishing my first year at Hartpury. What I love most about the agriculture degree is that, no matter whether you’re from a farming background or not, the course starts with the basics and build up. So even though I am from a farming background, I’m learning plenty of new things every day. I’ve always just accepted how our organic dairy farm runs – but learning from my lectures and classmates has given me a whole new perspective and loads of ideas for the business. I’ve particularly enjoyed learning about sustainable agriculture, and how farmers need to adopt a holistic approach to build a sustainable future – something I’m really passionate about

The mix of theory and practical sessions is great
One thing I love about the course is that we have time to work alongside studying. I believe this is crucial to improving my employability. It will show employers that I have practical and theoretical knowledge, as well as key transferable skills such as time management. Teaching takes place three days a week, with Fridays being one of our days off. There are plenty of farms in the surrounding area, where we can gain extra practical experience in whichever area we’re most interested in.

Lectures usually start at 10.30am, and 11.30am on a Monday, which is great for me because I often go home to help with the milking at the weekend. One of my friends gets up early to do the milking on the campus farm before lectures. Wednesday afternoons are dedicated to sport on campus – if you’re not playing, you’re probably pitch side with your friends, cheering the Hartpury teams on.

The best field trip we’ve had so far is the residential one. We visited four farms in one weekend and stayed overnight – which created a great social too! The highlight for me was seeing a broiler poultry unit in action and understanding how it worked. We also got to visit Ham Hill Country Park in Somerset, which combines a historic iron age fort and a grazing beef herd.

The lecturers bring so much industry experience
My lecturers teach to such an incredibly high standard. They’re all from different backgrounds and bring such a diverse range of industry experience and skills to the table. We learn from a former sheep farmer, veterinary surgeon and an agronomist. I find that this blend creates an amazing teaching experience – from both a theoretical and a practical sense.

The help I’ve received from my lecturers and my tutor has been outstanding. Being able to talk to them about lecture material, or even issues unrelated to my course, has been invaluable. They’re really responsive – we get lots of communication from them and they often reply to your emails within minutes! I’ve been particularly happy with how quickly a meeting can be arranged, which is usually within the same week. So you can always get the help you need to complete assignments.

There are plenty of chill out spots on campus
Legends SU bar is a popular hangout spot, especially during Freshers’ and the first few weeks. Whether you’re meeting friends to play pool or just getting a drink and watching some sport, it’s a great place to chill out when you’re not in lectures. One of the best things about Legends bar is that it’s recently started selling Costa coffee. You can work on your assignments in the study lounge, which is right next door, and then pop into Legends to grab a coffee to keep you going!

I’d love to work for the United Nations
I would love to work for the United Nations or go into policymaking. In particular, focusing on how we can make farming more sustainable, using emerging new smart technology to address big issues such as global food production. This degree is not only developing my skills from an agricultural perspective, it’s also giving me key transferable skills. I’ve been learning how to research and write in a scientific manner, which has been life changing and is a fantastic grounding for my future career.

If you’re considering studying at Hartpury, I’d say to go for it. When you arrive, you’ll quickly discover the incredible family ethos. We all have each other’s backs and get plenty of support from the lecturers too. Coming to Hartpury is a brand new chapter. My advice is to throw yourself into it and take advantage of every opportunity – it’ll make your journey even more exciting!

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