Harper Adams University undergraduate student Amy Law has joined the NFU’s food chain team for her placement year. Here she describes her role in the team and why she chose to apply to work for the NFU...
"I am not from a farming background, however I have always been interested in food production and the agri-food world. My partner farms a mixed dairy and arable farm in Gloucestershire, milking 280 cows. I enjoy helping on the farm, especially with the calves, and have had farm-level experience on a free-range poultry unit, but my real interest has always been in what goes on past the farm gate.
Choosing the NFU...
I am studying Agri-Business at Harper Adams and the third year of my degree is a placement year working out in industry. I applied for the placement student role because the NFU is such a wide organisation that represents all parts of agriculture and farmers. I do not know what job I want to go into after I finish university. The NFU was the perfect organisation for picking up knowledge and experiencing a wide range of areas, which I felt would help me make decisions in the future. The role covers a broad span of topics so I knew it would give me a chance to experience all aspects of agriculture, building on policy work as well as communication methods that I developed at university.
I joined the NFU in a virtual world so have not experienced the hustle of HQ. Despite this, the food and farming team have made me feel very welcome. I already feel part of the NFU family and a vital member of the food chain team. The food chain team builds relationships with both retailers, foodservice businesses and within public procurement. The team try to promote British throughout the supply chain and aim to have discussions on how the industry can work together on key policy areas, such as animal welfare and sustainability.
My day-to-day role
My role in the team is very varied - I look after the internal and external communications of the team. This involves keeping the @NFUFoodChain Twitter account updated, letting members know what we have been doing, and ensuring our section on NFU online has a constant stream of articles. The NFU Organic Forum also sits in the food chain team's responsibility. I undertake secretarial duties for the forum and am in the process of arranging virtual farm walks for them to attend.
Heading up campaigns
Throughout the year I will undertake a range of projects working with the different sectors. The main project I have been working on so far is with the poultry team. The #BuyMyTurkey campaign is the responsibility of the placement student to co-ordinate. The campaign’s aim is to persuade consumers to buy from local turkey producers using the NFU Turkey Finder, and to remind them that if they cannot shop locally, to look out for the British flag in supermarkets. Working with the poultry team on this and other communications projects have been my favourite tasks so far.
Developing lifelong skills
Already during the placement I have gained a range of valuable skills. These include project management, communication and improving my professionalism and accountability, which has all been invaluable. I have developed personal skills throughout the placement too. My confidence has grown and grown, my organisation skills have also been tested, and this will benefit me in my final year and beyond.
A busy schedule
So far this year the NFU has been involved in lobbying for a range of significant agricultural policy changes, such as the Agricultural Bill and Brexit, so it has been an interesting learning experience. I am looking forward to continuing my placement within the team and gaining more invaluable experiences.