Student Profile

Photograph of Hannah Hensley

Hannah Hensley

Graduated: Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture
Nationality: British
Occupation: Student

Why did you choose to study agriculture?
Farming is a guarantee, there will always be jobs in farming because there will always be farming to do, and as long as you are willing to work hard anyone can become a farmer.

I am 19 and live in Wickford, Essex. For me farming means getting a great sense of achievement from putting your best into an animal or crop and watching it grow and thrive and become a product you can take great pride in; when I was younger that meant babying a pair of Saxony laying ducks and selling the eggs to friends, now it means learning the industry that’s taken that a step further and produces and sells to the millions, with the goal of becoming part of that industry.

To do this I had to go to college (not something the average person would think a wannabe farmer would have to do, I know), so I applied to Writtle College for a Level 3 Diploma in Agriculture; it takes two years and if this course has taught me anything it’s that we’re all in the same boat, even the farm-raised students look on in complete befuddlement when the lecturer starts talking about feeding curves and estimated breeding values. We get taught everything from how to birth a lamb and plough a field, to how to increase and improve a business through diversity and marketing with more calculation equations than you can shake a stick at (for a livestock girl, I’m not going to lie, working out seed rates and chemical application was pushing the boat way out there); but that’s what you sign up for when you do an agricultural course, they teach you a bit about everything- machinery, livestock, crops, chemicals, business, legislation, environment - the whole shebang.

It's because of this that I definitely think more people my age should consider going into farming, they are so keen to give you all the possible knowledge and experience that you need that from here you can go into loads of different jobs- pharmaceutical, environmental protection, livestock production, engineering, crop production, rural business consultant, food quality inspector, welfare inspector, there are so many routes to take and you know that whichever one you do you will get support because the farming industry wants young people; their ideas and enthusiasm. And really, though the hours can cause you to look at the alarm clock with hatred, once you dip a toe in, you’re hooked; the feeling of achievement you get when a tricky birthing ends in success, amazing; when you can look out the window of a train and know exactly what’s being grown in the field without having to refer to google, amazing. It’s a lot like suddenly becoming a member of a secret society that the average person doesn’t know, or really think about.

My Career Path
My plan for the future involves going to university (a choice that surprisingly a lot of Agriculture students do) and studying livestock in more detail with a specific focus on diseases as I’m interested in how diseases affect livestock, not just in terms of visual effects but down to a molecular level. From here I will most likely hope to work for an organisational body such as DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) to monitor and improve the health and wellbeing of livestock. Until then I’m happy working with livestock and gaining experience, because to be honest, who doesn’t want to be a farmer, it’s a lot of work but the things worth doing usually are.