‘I had a good mixture of practical hands-on experience and lectures’

I graduated with an HND in Agriculture this year (June ‘11) at Greenmount College (CAFRE) in Northern Ireland. I really enjoyed my time there as I had a good mixture of practical hands-on experience and lectures of different modules of varying topics.

The college is well situated not far from Antrim town and Belfast. There were three enterprises to choose from when I arrived in my first year (Sept ‘08) CREAM, CROPS and UPLANDS. I chose CREAM as it was an enterprise made up of 30 high yielding Holstein cows. The reason I chose this one was because I had never milked before and I wanted to learn something new as I have some experience on suckler beef/sheep systems. I enjoyed working with the herd but the three-times-a-day milking took some time to get used to, especially on the weekends.

Moving away from home and living on campus was an experience and it also took some time to get adjusted but I made loads of friends and had plenty of good times. Also I was on the student council as my class rep/councillor which was good to help voice our views and to help organise events. Also as a born again Christian the college has a Christian Union which I really enjoyed and got more involved in during third year.

The HND includes a placement year which is the second year, so for that I got experience on a dairy farm for six months and I spend around 10 weeks each at two different machinery dealers. I really enjoyed the different placements and earned a bit along the way which helped! My lecturers knew what they were talking about when teaching and they were easy to get on with and only too glad to help when I had a problem.

We had plenty of good visits as well, especially to Kildalton college in ROI, Brussels and to good performing farms. To wrap this up I would recommend Greenmount because of the good facilities, staff, experience and courses available. I am currently at SAC Edinburgh to top up to a BSc in Agriculture in my first year.

writes Steven Crawford

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