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University of Hertfordshire responds to demand for trained Agricultural Scientists

Ensuring there is enough food to feed the growing population and still remain sustainable is critical for the world’s food and farming industry, as the first group of students on the University of Hertfordshire’s MSc in Environmental Management for Agriculture have been discovering.

The delivery of food security requires capacity building in the area of sustainable agriculture – as highlighted by Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs during a recent speech at Rothamsted Research on “making the food and farming industry more competitive while protecting the environment”. The University’s MSc in Environmental Management for Agriculture course was designed to fill this need for skilled agricultural scientists and managers who can work innovatively in all aspects of agriculture – from the research laboratory and the farmers’ fields, through agricultural policy and to the supermarket.

students in field

University of Hertfordshire students visiting the GM field trial at Rothamsted Research whilst on a recent MSc module being briefed by Professor Huw Jones

Dr Avice Hall, MBE from the University of Hertfordshire’s School of Life and Medical Sciences, said: “As well as giving a sound foundation in environmental management skills, including environmental auditing, this Master’s degree enables students to spend fifty per cent of their time studying agriculturally related topics; including integrated farm management, crop pathogens, pests and weeds and their integrated control. It can be taken either as a full-time or part-time course with individual modules delivered as short courses with BASIS CPD points.”

Students following the Master’s degree have to complete an agriculturally based research project. Other modules available to students include pollution control (including agricultural pollution control), water resources management, together with other key environmentally related topics.

Students from the first group have praised the course. One student wrote: “I have developed my knowledge and understanding of the present and future challenges agriculture faces, whilst gaining a range of new skills, which I hope to take forward.” He also said: “I have benefited from a good relationship with my research project supervisor”.

Another student who had previously worked with an agrochemical company said: “Having previously carried out a sandwich placement year with a major agrochemical company, the modules which compose this Master’s degree built upon that practical experience. The topics covered I have found to be current and relevant, disseminated in a condensed yet comprehensive manner from experienced and knowledgeable lecturers. I have thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this degree”.

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