The 2020 Kubota-sponsored Agricultural Student of the Year Megan Edwards, is not one to sit back and wait for opportunity to come knocking.
“I had three scholarships while studying at Harper Adams University, I was also a warden in my final year and really like to take an active role in everything I’m involved with,” she said. “I’m very much a go-getter.”
Her pro-active approach to developing and making the most of opportunities has led to what she describes as her dream job – working for Packington Farms at a high welfare outdoor pig rearing enterprise on the Shropshire/Staffordshire border.
“Winning a British Farming Award has been a great help opening doors,” said Megan. “There’s no doubt that such recognition – along with my degree – has helped to put me where I am, and I intend to make the most of this opportunity.”
Megan took up the post of estate livestock manager at The Meadleys, near Pattingham, in spring 2021, helping to get a newly constructed, outdoor pig finishing enterprise up and running.
“Historically, The Meadleys had always reared pigs, but under new ownership the land is contract-farmed and the livestock enterprise is now what gets our key focus,” she said.
The high welfare operation, which is both Red Tractor and RSPCA assured, operates across several outdoor paddocks for grazing, with the benefit of well-bedded, cosy tents for shade and shelter, and all the exercise that the pigs need to live stress-free.
Finishing and grading sees around 230-280 pigs sold on a weekly basis, as they reach a target live weight of around 90-100kg.
“I’ve always been hands-on with livestock, but working in the pig production industry is an entirely new challenge for me,” she said. “And as part of shaping what we do, I’ll also be analysing carcasses post-slaughter, so I can learn more about what makes the right animal for high-quality pork production. It is important to understand what consumers want, so I can help to move the business in the right direction.”
With her parents and two siblings involved in agriculture, Megan always knew her career would be farm-based.
“I’m pleased to be involved in feeding the nation,” she said. “And while there is a need for more office-based managerial work in my role at Packington Farms, I’m lucky enough to still be hands-on with the animals.”