An Oswestry farming student has taken a step closer to her dream of owning a farm shop after completing an extended foundation year at Harper Adams University.

Jessica Tomley, 21, completed the foundation year to study FdSc Agri-business and hopes to run childrens’ activities after she first became interested in the agricultural business as a child.

She grew up around beef and sheep production and thinks the course will help her in her ambitions.

“I saw this course as most relevant to my interests, along with those I’d like to explore further in the future of my career in this industry,” she said.

“The agri-business course explores the links between farmers, the processing industries, the retailers and the eventual consumers.

“The course teaches specific modules on aspects such as agricultural production of livestock and crops, logistics, marketing and economics. This basically covers the full chain from farm to fork.

“Through a strong understanding of these sectors, I believe I can further my career in this industry.

“It is this interest that drove my decision to undertake my placement year at Dawn Meats Abattoirs, based at their head UK offices at Cardington in Bedfordshire.

“I’ve been involved in agriculture my whole life, growing-up on our family farm near Oswestry in Shropshire.

“I believe that going forward, the origins and quality of the meat we consume will come under much more public scrutiny.

The way in which meat is produced is very important, with the consumer increasingly wanting to be assured of its grass-fed high welfare status.

“I’d like to be in a position to help the industry through these situations in the future, and I believe that my current degree course and work placement have given me a strong foundation for my future in this industry.”

Jessica has recently been awarded a Butchers & Droves Scholarship to help her reach her goals. On receiving the scholarship, she said: “I feel very privileged to be awarded this bursary, as it is very competitive.

“It will also help fund a trip to America where I’ll see how their beef industry differs to the UK’s.

“I’d like to thank Butchers and Drovers for giving me this opportunity, as it will help me reach my goals in the livestock and red meat industry.”