Conall Madigan, Spence Agricultural Scholar 2020

My name is Conall Madigan and I am 18 years old. I live in Lincolnshire and love farming and shooting. During the pandemic I was fed up of being stuck inside all day long and wanted to get a job on an arable farm so that I would have plenty of experience behind me when I apply for jobs within the agricultural sector in the future.

In January 2021 I approached the local farmer in the neighbouring village and asked for a harvest job. Having one and a half years’ experience on a dairy farm, carting bales and muck, gave me that little bit of an advantage of getting the job. So, the farmer told me to come down to the yard to see what I was like on a tractor and I was thrilled to be told I had got the job!

My first task on the farm was to help with the sugar beet harvest and cart the beet out the field ready to be loaded up into lorries. Then I helped with land preparation for the future crops in the year e.g. ploughing, parrow harrowing and subsoiling. When harvest came around, I enjoyed it the most as all your hard work of looking after the crop pays off with a good yield. And working with good friends made the long 15-hour days fly by!

When looking for the university of my choice I had three in mind, but Nottingham University stuck out the most. This is because Nottingham is a Russell Group university, meaning that it has high standards of teaching and has high achieving students. Another reason I chose Nottingham is because they look at the science behind the farming and carry out high quality research into different ways the agricultural sector is able to adapt to the ever-changing environment of this sector.

When I arrived at Nottingham my first impression was how friendly the staff and students were; they all made us feel so welcome since it is quite a small campus compared to many others. The best part of the university is that it is in the countryside, meaning you don’t get the hustle and bustle of the city traffic however you do occasionally get the odd plane fly over since it is in the flight path of East Midlands airport.

The part of my course I enjoy most, is going on trips. This is because it gives me an insight of what people within the sector are really trying to achieve and how they aim to improve what they are doing, whether that is through trying regenerative farming or going completely organic. Within my course I am looking forward to studying more on crop-based farming. Being from an arable farming background, I have always wanted to learn more about the agronomy of the crops that are grown, and the different types of pesticides needed to keep the plant healthy. Therefore, when I graduate my ambition is to become an agronomist or a farm manager as I have always wanted to have my own farm and to incorporate agronomy methods therein.

The Rochester Bridge Trust Spence Agricultural Scholarship will allow me to purchase course material such as the John Nix Farm Management pocket book and work towards certificates such as my PA4+pgs.