Agricultural Alumni student Georgina Wallis has started a new job combining two of her passions - agriculture and the environment. She shares an insight into her career:
Give us a sense of what your job involves
I’m a Farm and Environment Consultant with CLM working across southern England and the Midlands, so at heart it’s helping farmers and landowners navigate through the options, especially during this time of huge change for agriculture. It’s also about ensuring farm businesses are as profitable as they can be, while taking care of the environment. This can involve everything from filling out BPS forms to working on scrub management plans for the South Downs.
Why did you choose that career?
I grew up on our family farm in Bedfordshire. My dad has always been keen on conservation and soil health so this has always been at the forefront of our business. Right now, everyone’s eyes are on agriculture and the opportunities it can bring to deliver environmental outcomes. Farming covers so much of the nation’s land area, and the Covid pandemic has focused attention on farming methods and food supplies, so it feels like a time when I can make a real difference in this role.
What skills do you need to do your job?
Interpersonal and communication skills are vital. You work with so many different people in so many different situations. It’s never just a set of figures on a balance sheet – the job is always about people and, often, families. Every farm is unique so in each instance you have to approach the situation differently. The first task is to understand the client and work out what they want to achieve. A good consultant helps clients make informed decisions with their best interests at heart.
Tell us about your time at Moulton College
I did a Foundation Degree between 2014 and 2016 and a BSc in Land Management between 2016 and 2018. It was a fantastic place to study - and I'll always think very fondly of my time at the College. I actually worked as a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer for some of the time I was studying – so that was a busy two years!
And you recently took part in the 100-year anniversary celebrations, right?
Yes, it was a great day, celebrating the college's ‘past, present and future’ with current students, ex-students and guest speakers. I gave a short talk - and even ended up on BBC Radio Northamptonshire!
What are the main opportunities for farmers in the South East where you're based?
This is an area where there are lots of ‘protected’ landscapes and, while this can bring some restrictions on what farmers can do, it can also open up some great opportunities. Local projects, such as with the new Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme, provide farmers with a unique chance to build a scheme to suit them and the environment around them. There are also great opportunities for diversification – the sheer volume of people opens doors for retail businesses, events and residential development. Agriculture and food production will quite righty always remain at the heart of many businesses, though.
What do you do when you're not working?
I love tug-of-war and recently represented England at the British and Irish Championships. I started the sport in Young Farmers and it’s a great way to travel the world, meet some fantastic people and it certainly keeps you fit. I also enjoy spending time with my horse, Lady, and one of the highlight of my time in Sussex has been doing the ‘1066 Walk’ which runs from Rye to Pevensey and takes you through some lovely, varied landscapes from rolling hills and marshes to the coast.
Find out about our Agriculture courses here.