An INTEREST in farming for a group of pupils from Wem has led to a visit to one of the best rural universities in the country.

Students part of the recently-established Thomas Adams School Farming Society visited Harper Adams University with 30 of its members last Friday.

The group, which draws pupils from Years 7 to 11 was established after English Teacher Hannah Lester discovered plenty of interest from pupils in the school.

“Being a rural school, we have a number of pupils who have connections to farms and a number that just love the countryside," she said.

"The Farming Society is run by the pupils and I have been overwhelmed by the interest so far.

"The opportunity to visit Harper Adams has given the pupils a fabulous chance to see just where their interest in agriculture can take them in the future.

"As we saw on the visit, particularly during the Hands Free Hectare session, the future of farming is very exciting and quite literally in the hands of the young people who have chosen to join our society.”

During the visit, the pupils took in the dairy unit and new robotic parlour, a range of arable and livestock enterprises and of course, the Hands Free Hectare that has been farmed entirely by autonomous tractors, combines and drones.

Simon Thelwell is associate head of business and agribusiness at harper Adams, as well as a governor at Thomas Adams, believes it is a great opportunity for pupils to learn

“They are the future of our industry and Harper Adams are delighted to support them," he said.

“The plan is to bring the pupils back to Harper Adams in early summer so that they can see the development of the different crops through the seasons.

"I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to nurture this interest and more schools should do the same."

Harvey Pyke, society president and a Year 11 pupil, was inspired by the whole experience. He said: “A lot of us know that we want to go into farming, whether on our own or with parents.

"It has shown us just what a wide range of roles involve agriculture, how rich the experience of higher education could be as well as how much farming is set to change in the near future.”