Morgan Tasker, Spence Agricultural Scholar 2020

Morgan was presented with a single year bursary in 2020, in recognition of his dedication to agriculture, having formed a relationship with the Rochester Bridge Trust during the Spence Agricultural Scholars application process.

My name is Morgan Tasker, I am 19 years old, and I live in Barming a small village near Maidstone.

Unfortunately, I was not born with a silver pitchfork in my mouth and got into farming when I was around 16, when I attended Hadlow College studying an extended diploma in agriculture. This is where my love for farming began and where I learnt the processes behind food production.

I have always liked being outdoors and working practically so I quickly learned this was the industry for me. Hands-on tasks such as lambing, milking the cows and tractor work are what I enjoyed the most at college, and I soon realised the importance of finding a job or work experience to ensure I could quickly learn practical skills to experience the theory I learnt in college in an industry environment.

I found some work on a mixed farm and attended outside of my college hours. It was a great introduction to farm work and had most species of livestock such as pigs, beef cows and sheep. This meant I could see how each animal was managed and what routine treatments would need to be carried out on them over their life cycle.

My next employment was handling and shearing alpacas for a season, contracting around the country. It meant I learned how broad agriculture is as I’d never thought I would find myself in Suffolk shearing 40 alpacas. It was a great experience and I have been offered to repeat the experience again this year which I will be glad to take up again.

After this I went to Writtle University College in Essex and under this year’s circumstances, it has been interesting to say the least. Getting used to the new rules and regulations in place due to Covid-19 was a challenge at first but we as a year group have been resilient and helped to control the spread of the virus.

Freshers’ week and other social activities were impacted but I believe we made the most of what we had. Despite this, a fellow classmate and I managed to set up a clay pigeon shooting society which will help people to unwind and come together.

Meeting my classmates for the first time was interesting as the group has very mixed backgrounds and contains several international students. This has been an eye-opening experience and by understanding how agriculture in places like Zambia and Turkey differs from the UK, I feel I have broadened my knowledge and learned different farming methods from my peers outside of lectures.

I have recently acquired a job on the university farm, which has allowed me to develop and maintain my practical skills alongside the theory work I am doing, which I believe is extremely important. The farm is mainly livestock, which is my preferred side, so I have loved working outdoors and being able to burn off all the excess energy I have from staying indoors for online lectures.