University of Reading
I find it surprising that the University of Reading has not been included in your list.
Firstly I believe it is important to talk about Reading’s investment in research. Reading boasts a modern 580-cow dairy herd with a portion dedicated solely to research in the sector which required a multi-million pound investment. This is enhanced with the other university farm at Sonning consisting of an arable operation as well as young stock rearing and, most importantly, independent crop trials in which I and the rest of the second year are currently involved in.
Your list seems to comprise of mainly agricultural colleges which I find very disappointing. Agriculture is a science which is something the public don’t often appreciate; your article gives the impression that agriculture is merely driving tractors and injecting cattle which will not attract the investment in research and improvement worldwide agriculture needs.
I do not dismiss the importance of practical skills as I, too, enjoy operating machinery in the holidays on my father’s arable farm and seek livestock experience within neighbouring farms.
I chose to study at University of Reading because I will gain knowledge and experience not possible on the farm and, with the tuition fee rise coming into place, I believe people will need more than just practical knowledge to justify the investment.
Looking at your list, I feel that for anyone whom is academic or has completed A-levels, agriculture is not for you – consistent with only Newcastle University making the cut.
Your analysis also includes proximity of large populations to the institutions, Reading town itself has a vibrant atmosphere which is also conveniently close to London. This, matched with an enclosed university campus home to a broad mix of subjects and people from across the country and indeed the world, makes it a vibrant place to study.
writes Tom Blanchard