15 June 2022
Our exhibit demonstrated the technological developments in agriculture and horticulture, ensuring our students build the skills, knowledge and experience required in the land and environment sector where Plumpton College is well placed to support the adoption of automation.
Building on successes from previous South of England shows, we were delighted to win not one, but two awards presented to staff and students by Elizabeth Buchanan, President of South of England Agricultural Society. The awards were for 'Best Discover the Countryside Exhibit' and the 'Rowland Gorringe Trophy - Champion Trade Exhibit'. A fantastic achievement for everyone involved.
Horticulture edible crop production continues to experience significant staff shortages, impacted by Brexit and COVID-19. With this in mind, we had three displays to demonstrate the solutions to this; Vertical Farming and Tower Farming, answers to sustainable, carbon-zero methods of producing edible crops; and the Sawyer Robotic-arm, which introduces our students to technology to develop small scale horticultural applications where robotics can work collaboratively and safely alongside humans.
In the last two years, we've successfully secured sponsorship from Lely Atlantic for Lambert Farm, with an automatic feed pusher, robotic barn cleaner, automatic milkers and our No Fence technology showing virtual fencing boundaries for our Sussex breed cattle over at Seven Sisters. Our Agriculture students benefit from the latest industry-standard kit, technology allowing them to develop the in-demand skillset needed by future employers.
In addition to our exhibit, our Fisheries and Aquatic Science students were over at Discover the Countryside hub with displays on our Level 3 course and student enrichment. The South of England Agricultural Society kindly donated £X as part of their employer engagement fund for our students to take an educational field trip to an Aquaculture Salmon and Trout fish farms later this month in Scotland.
Our Level 3 Garden Design students, and tutor, Rachel Owen, designed a show garden entry - A Moment of Calm - in response to the theme, 'Reuse and Recycle'. The concept came from the previous two years and with lockdown teaching us the value of green spaces and their role in our recovery. The garden enabled visitors to pause, reflect and be embraced by nature. Using recycled elements, the garden aims to demonstrate that a relaxing green sanctuary need not cost the earth with a bit of imagination.
"Many of the garden design class were people looking for a change in their life and a new focus. The students all brought their skills from life experience and previous professions, making for a really diverse and interesting group of people. It has been such a pleasure to teach and work with these students this year." Rachel Owen, Garden Design and Horticulture Lecturer
And last but not least, Elizabeth Gower, Level 3 Agriculture student won 1st Prize in Dairy Cattle Young Handlers in the 14-19 years class and competed for the Champion and Reserve Champion, and won the Champion for Dairy Young Handlers. Elizabeth, and 9 month old Jersey Heifer, Moana certainly made a winning team!
This year, the South of England Agricultural Society chose The Prince's Countryside Fund as the Charity of the Year to fundraise - founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, and is the only UK-wide charity that empowers family farms and rural communities to ensure their future. Our Agricultural students represented Plumpton College, as the primary fundraisers for this important cause.
Thank you to all those who visited us over the three-day event. It was fantastic to see the curiosity and stories of Alumni and those eager to learn what Plumpton College has to offer in the land and environment sector. See you next year!
Learn more about our history
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.