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RHASS Scholarship: Catherine Smith

RHASS are strong supporters of educational opportunities within agriculture, and particularly sponsoring talented young people to help them excel in their career.

The Oxford Farming Conference, which is held in early January, offers a tremendous learning experience for anyone in the rural sector, and late last year RHASS offered a full paid scholarship to Catherine Smith to attend this leading industry event.

Catherine, a farmer’s daughter, is a graduate of Rural Tourism Management from Scottish Agricultural College at Auchincruive, and is currently a Land Agent for Bell Ingram in Perth. Here we talk to Catherine about her experience at the conference.

What was the highlight of the event for you?

Attending the Oxford Farming Conference gave me an unique opportunity to meet new contacts and listen to some very inspiring and engaging presentations.

What have you taken most from the event moving forward in your day-to-day job?

I have come back to the office with a more realistic and also positive insight into the future of the agricultural industry – and, while I am under no illusion that the next few years won’t be without their challenges, I feel much more prepared for what may be ahead. It has reminded me how fortunate I am to work in the industry and I look forward to sharing my newly acquired knowledge with colleagues and clients

How important is it for you that young people are able to broaden their knowledge?

Very – young people are the future of the industry. We need to have as much knowledge as possible in order to gain experience and understanding of a changing industry. It’s important that you look beyond your farm gate or computer and see the bigger picture, so you can grow and expand both professionally and personally.

While it is important not to always do something just because someone else is doing it – you also need to know what opportunities are available and keep up to date with what is happening in the industry in a wider context.

I think my generation are going to see a lot of change in the industry within our lifetime and by broadening our knowledge, it will enable us to embrace those changes – whatever they may be.

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