UCBB’s resident livestock expert Jess is an experienced farmer, breeding pedigree Boer goats and managing her own herd of 300 sheep. Currently working towards a Master’s degree specialising in sustainable and efficient food production, she is also a driving force in our precision agriculture provision with the Institute of Technology.
Jess’s passion for livestock and farming started at a young age, spending time on her grandfather’s farm near Doncaster. Initially, she considered becoming a vet but due to a change of family circumstances she came to UCBB to study Agriculture. During her time with us Jess was able to explore her interest in livestock and became fascinated with animal genetics and the sustainability of livestock, which she is exploring further with her masters’ studies.
“I love the science of genetics, how it influences livestock and how you can see progression in breeds when traits are selected and introduced to make them more efficient and sustainable. Animals always make me smile and it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy a job where I get to explore my love of genetics alongside nurturing and taking care of my animals.”
On completion of her degree in 2016, Jess returned to working on the family farm, implementing the knowledge she had acquired during her time at UCBB. Jess built up her own sheep flock, which has now swelled to 300 and pursued her passion for breeding and genetics with her herd of pedigree Boer goats; introducing new genetics to develop the breed and improve the meat quality.
In 2017 Jess stepped into the shoes of her former mentor Higher Education Academic Lead for Land Based Sharon Kirby, when she was invited to join the lecturing team at UCBB. Jess finds working with students incredibly rewarding, as she is able to inspire the next generation to pursue careers working with livestock. As a professional herself, farming alongside her lecturing role, she finds her own working practice, experiences and situation invaluable to contextualise theory and practical lessons.
“Students really value being taught by someone who is an experienced farmer, especially when they are still working in the industry. I love being able to use my own personal experiences to explain the programme for students and I often share the work I am doing on the farm with my own animals. I feel very lucky – not many people can say they truly love their jobs. I have the perfect balance between the farm and teaching.”
Jess is also a huge advocate of the precision agriculture focus at UCBB and has been heavily involved in developing the short courses that are available for agriculture professionals to develop higher level skills.
“The Institute of Technology at UCBB is fantastic as it gives students and the lecturing team the opportunity to be part of pioneering new teaching practice. My own personal studies are focused on sustainable and efficient food production and the technologies available to us on campus support my own research interests, leveraging data and genetics for precision livestock - creating animals who are more sustainable and efficient. More importantly, I am able to empower and inspire students, enabling and equipping them with the skills, knowledge and understanding to farm sustainably in the future.”
Interested in pursuing a career like Jess? Take a look at our Agriculture degree courses