Supporting new talent into the industry

We’re proud to be supporting the next generation of young people working in the agricultural industry and we’ve been joined by two talented university students eager to learn all they can about the Mole approach. Tom Broom and Inga Barnett are both on placement with us at opposite ends of the country.

Tom is an agribusiness student at Harper Adams University in Shropshire and has joined our busy marketing department for a year. He works under our Head of Agricultural Marketing, Emily Dawes, and is based at our Head Office in South Molton.

He said: “I’m really enjoying my time at Mole Valley Farmers. I’m part of a great team and I’ve learnt lots in the process.”

Tom said he particularly wanted to work in head office to see how the business works at a management level. And he’s had plenty to keep him busy, liaising with different people across the company including stakeholders and designers and managing marketing projects from inception to completion.

He has been helping out at shows around the country like our Agri Expo and Agri Scot events, giving him plenty of opportunity to learn from experts in their fields.

Tom said: “The company has been very welcoming and I think it’s the perfect place for young professionals starting out.

“Emily has been great. She is so knowledgeable and has been mindful that this is my placement year and has encouraged me to grow, develop and learn new skills, all of which will serve me well as I progress in my career.

“One of the most encouraging things I’ve seen has been the opportunity for career progression. The business is so wide and varied you can start in one place and discover another area of the business that you’re interested in, that you weren’t even aware existed!”

While Tom was working in Devon, Inga was working up in Scotland on farm. She is a PhD student studying at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in Dumfries. Part of her research includes an industry placement here at Mole Valley Farmers, which is sponsoring her PhD.

Despite growing up on a beef and sheep farm in Orkney, it’s dairy farming Inga has taken an interest in. Her PhD title is: ‘Optimising amino acid nutrition in periparturient dairy cows’.

The project focuses on improving protein nutrition in dairy cows across the transition period from gestation into early lactation. So far, Inga has completed one month of her placement this year, working up in Scotland, spending time on farm and online.

Inga’s placement involved visiting Coylton Mill, one of our four ruminant feed mills, attending the Dairy-Tech event and generally getting to know the business.

Inga said: “While I was on my placement, I was able to complete a nitrogen efficiency exercise which was a great way of applying what I’ve been researching for my PhD with real life, industry experience.”

Having grown up in Scotland, Inga did not have much knowledge of the business but since joining she has been impressed by our approach - particularly our mission to get the best collective prices, coupled with the best quality, for our farmers.

For now, Inga has returned to her studies full time but towards the end of the year she’ll be doing the next stint of her placement. And she’s hoping to come to Devon to see the heart of our operation.

Tom will be with us until August. He was due to finish in July but has extended his time before returning for his final year at Harper Adams University.