Mark Dewes - Can UK agronomy learn from best practice abroad to better serve arable farmers with advice and crop protection inputs?
I’ve been working in agriculture since I left school at the earliest opportunity in 1988. I was lucky to meet a careers advisor on my YTS day release course who gave me a reference that got me into Harper Adams, despite my lack of A levels. There I studied for a degree in Agriculture.
Since 1996 I’ve been working as an agronomist; first for ADAS then TAG. I spent six years running my own consulting company before joining Agrii as a sales agronomist in 2015. Throughout my agronomy career I have always been farming in my own right. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to buy into a small family farm in Warwickshire where I live with my family and now grow around 100 Ha of combinable crops. Here I try to wear both my farmer and agronomist hats to cover my receding hair line. Away from work and the farm I like to keep up with our children’s music and sport, and do some walking with my wife.
I have worked in both the main forms of on-farm agronomy in this country and now I want to learn from other countries to try to bring the best of their systems to UK arable farming.
I am indebted to my wife Wendy for her patience and support, and her unswerving dedication to our children Dom and Ruby. I am also grateful to the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust and the Richard Lawes Foundation, together with my employers, for the support to pursue this scholarship. I intend to make the most of the chance I have been given to try to improve a corner of the industry which has provided my living so far.