Today’s first stop was at the Farmers Weekly, the largest agricultural publication in the United Kingdom. The Farmer’s Weekly publishes magazines and is expanding what they’re doing in agriculture. They currently publish the Farmers Weekly with a circulation of 54,000 people and is their biggest publication. They also have Poultry World that circulates 33,000 and Future Farming with 20,000. Karl Schneider, Editorial Developmental Director, gave us some more insight to the publications goals. The publication is trying to move farmers to a data driven base in order to track things such as cattle movement, animal records, and field record to improve agriculture. The Farmers Weekly even owns a farm software business because of this.
A view of the Farmers Weekly’s office.
Karl also explained to us what the Farmers Weekly is doing to promote agriculture. The Farmer’s Weekly uses social media to do this and has 400,000 users on their website. This is the biggest agricultural website in the United Kingdom. He also explained when dealing with agricultural issues pertaining to livestock that “it’s really important to be honest with the consumers. The supermarkets like to paint a picture, and that picture isn’t necessarily what’s best welfare for the animal.”
An informational slide shared with us by Karl.
The next stop of the day was by far the favorite, the United States Embassy. There, we met with Steve Knight, Agricultural Specialist in the USDA’s London Office. Steve explained to us that he is British but works for the USDA.
Outside the U.S. Embassy a Bald Eagle and American Flag Fly.
Steve explained the 2 year Brexit process to us. He also explained that the U.K. will have to adopt all of the EU regulations as their own when they exit the EU. They will then have to slowly change them to what they want. He had hopes that Brexit would have a positive impact on United States agriculture. Steve also explained to us that he believes the public’s misconceptions of agriculture is something that the public shouldn’t be worrying about. He believes that agriculture is being done in the best and safest possible way it can be while being sustainable. Steve was very passionate about agriculture and connecting the United States agriculture with that of the United Kingdoms. He even said that his favorite part of his job was getting to go to the farm yard, and getting to talk to the producers. He said it really reminds him of why he is doing the job he does.
All 50 state flags flew outside of the Embassy, centered is Ohio’s flag.
Today we decided as the resident directors of the trip that we would stay low key in London. We took the group to the zoo for the majority of the day and let them explore animals and exhibits. The end of the day has ended with us reflecting on the last few days and the events surrounding us. The students are having a great time and we are all sad we only have two days left!
Today our group left Bath bright and early for our stop at Stonehenge on our way to London. Needless to say for those that saw me today, Stonehenge was my most highly anticipated part of our trip. My fascination with Stonehenge began when I took a GE archaeology class, and it has been at the top of my bucket list ever since. I must say, leaving the hotel in Bath at 7:45am was not fun, but it was worth it to be on one of the first tour buses to arrive at the site. The weather was perfect. Cool and clear with a little wind and a bright blue sky. We got on the shuttle to the site and I had my face glued to the window, determined to catch my first glimpse of the stones. When they finally came into view it was all could do to not sprint off the bus and up the path. I was in awe. Although the site was smaller than I had expected, it was not at all underwhelming. I couldn’t believe I was finally witnessing thousands of years of history before my eyes. After everyone recovered from their initial amazement, we took every touristy group photo we could think of. We laughed and posed, some even jumped (me). Everyone seemed truly happy to be there to witness history and make it our own, as so many have done before us. Slowly, groups returned to the visitor center. We all piled back on to the bus, and had one last look at Stonehenge on the road to London.
It was another hour and a half before we reached London. Our tour guide met us at the Natural History Museum. He was a character, to say the least. He had no shortage of interesting facts for us as we bused around the city. Even when we were sitting in traffic he would point out individual shops or buildings of historical significance. While we weren’t able to stop and visit all the attractions, the tour gave us glimpses of sights such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The London Eye, Tower Bridge, London Bridge and the Tower of London, just to name a few. The tour really gave me a better sense of London as a city, so I think I will be less scared to go and explore when we have free time. After the tour we checked into the hotel and several groups split off to get dinner. As I we were walking around (getting lost) I kept having to remind myself that I was really in London. It’s such a beautiful and historic city, I cant wait to go out and do some exploring over the next few days.
We started out our morning visiting the Roman Baths. It amazes me that this massive structure has been lost and found again, and also that it is still intact and functioning.
This is the only Roman Bath location in the world that still has running water.
This memorial sits on the edge of Queen Victoria park. Every town in England has a war memorial in it, but this memorial is different because it also has the names of the Bath residents killed in the Blitz engraved on it. Our tour guide told us that at a ceremony hay took place here a few years ago, a German Luftwaffe pilot who participated in the bombings came to the ceremony to pay his respects. I found this pretty incredible.
With a background in showing livestock through 4-H and FFA, I was extremely eager to attend The Royal Bath and West Livestock Show. I had seen some photos of livestock in England from magazines I had seen prior to the trip, but was really excited to see the many different breeds and spot the differences between American versions of the same species.
There was a HUGE difference! The sheep were much shorter and stockier. There were a lot of breeds I had never heard of before today. I got to see a lot of uncommon wool breeds of sheep. The pigs were very skinny and there were quite a few heritage breeds that I also had not heard of before, such as the Kunekune pig and the Welsh pig. The cattle were all their “breed” colors. For example, a lot of American cattle breeds are black but are not in England. The horses were similar and the dairy breeds looked very similar.
Below is a photo gallery of the day! Enjoy!
Today (May 31) was a simple but enriching day! We went to the Royal Agricultural University, the oldest agriculture school in the U.K. Stephen Chad was our kind host for the day. We started off with him giving us a brief overview of the university and their various degree programs, then later he took us on a campus tour. You can see various pictures from the campus tour below.
One of their beautiful buildings in campus.
Their “silent” library with lots of very old books.
An outside picture of some of their “dorms”.
I found this common area very neat. I could picture it filled with people laughing. There was a bar on the other side of it and Mr. Chad said students often come and enjoy themselves here.
Peter Morris was another gentleman who spoke to us today regarding agriculture in the media. I think we all really enjoyed what this man had to say and the perspective he brought to the table. He had worked as an attorney, a reporter and now an educator and brought quite the insight on agriculture. He discussed media in many different ways and I found him very knowledgeable and even a bit inspiring. Our overall experience at the Royal Agricultural University was a great one and I personally enjoyed our time there.
We ended the night singing happy birthday to Will, one of the Arkansas students. He can proudly say he is now two decades old. Happy Birthday Will!