Castles, shopping and tea!

Well, sadly we have reached our final full day of our trip. We needed last night as a group reflecting on the two weeks, and it is clear everyone has grown from this experience and will have many great memories to last a lifetime.

This morning we taxied everyone to Edinburgh Castle to see one of the prettiest castles and most historic, along with the Scottish Crown Jewels. After exploring, students broke off and explored the city by shopping, eating and checking out cultural sights. Some took the chance to have formal tea at the National Scottish Portrit Gallery and a few have headed into Glasgow to watch a real football game. Below are a few pictures of tea!


Both Dr Specht and I have had an amazing time with this group of students  they challenged themselves to try new things, meet new people and explore new places  we couldn’t ask for a better trip. Please enjoy a few more pictures as we all pack up all our goodies and dirty laundry for the long trip home!





The Farmers Weekly & US Embassy

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.

Fun with the monkeys

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!

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A full Saturday!

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.

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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.

-Amanda Jones

Baths and Shops

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.

The Royal Crescent was built in 1767 and designed by the Wood family, who seem to have designed just about everything in Bath. The building has a Palladian architecture design which focuses on balance, proportion and symmetry. There is also an environmental aspect added to the public yard of the Royal Crescent in the longer grass. It’s been really interesting to learn about the U.K.’s desire to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Bath has some amazing sites and views.
After visiting the Roman Baths and touring the area, we split into small groups for lunch and to further explore the area.
Some of our group visited the Jane Austen Center to learn more about Austen’s life, work and family.
Some of our group visited the Protestant cathedral located near the Roman Baths.


A Royal Affair- The Bath and West Livestock Show

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!

-Brianna Gwirtz

Simple and Enriching

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!

-Mackenzie Moyer

From Windermere to Stratford-upon-Avon in One Day

“My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmers” – Brenda Schoepp

That quote rang true as we traveled from Scotland to England today visiting an agricultural newspapers and two beautiful farms.

Our study abroad group was fortunate enough to meet with Ben Briggs, editor of Farmers Guardian, in Preston to discuss the publication and tour the vicinity. There are about 20 editorial staff with 60 to 70 staff members as a whole company. Briggs explained that the goal of Farmers Guardian is to break down complex issues that farmers are facing and what global decisions mean for farmers. The newspaper sells about 34,000 copies of both Scottish and English editions nationally every Friday.

Afterwards, we traveled to Tamworth to meet with Rick Jones, Robert Leedham, and some of their friends and family at a little pub called White Lion. There we had a wonderful lunch consisting of roast beef, Yorkshire Pudding, roasted vegetables and cooked potatoes. Caleb and I had the opportunity to sit with Jones’ neighbors, the Gilneans who own a Holstein dairy farm with 200 head. Following lunch, we were able to choose from a selection of delicious desserts. I choose a banana spilt, which was a banana cut in half with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. I was so full that I wasn’t sure I would be able to eat dinner!

Jones and his wife let us tour their open garden and Holstein dairy operation at Haselour Grange! An open garden allows people to come to their property to explore the garden, feed the calves and look at the machinery. They own about 100 head of dairy cattle with a Hereford bull in the mix. The farm operates on a double-12 Herringbone parlor with the first milking shift occurring at 6 a.m., and the second milking shift occurring at 3:30 p.m. Cows are feed a total mix ration of chopped straw, corn and grass silage and rock salt (25% protein). A milk truck collects, on average, 3,500 liters of milk every day. Two of the major problems that dairy farmers are facing are Tuberculosis and Warble Fly. The Tuberculosis comes from badgers already infected with it while the Warble Fly goes into the back by the tall.

After visiting Jones’ farm, we went across Tamworth to Syerscote Manor where Leedham’s farm is. Leedham has a multitude of agricultural interests. He raises and releases about 500 pheasants a year. Our coach even got stuck behind a little pheasant that refused to move off the road! Leedham and his daughter also raise 166 Clifford Suffolk breeding ewes with 30 replacements. In addition to livestock, they also grow wheat, barley, oats, canola and beans. Half of their fields are wheat whereas only a quarter of it is canola, and they utilized an integrated approach by rotating the other crops. Their crops are planted in autumn, usually the last week of September/beginning of October. Due to SSSI regulations, the Leedhams are limited to what chemicals they are allowed to utilize. Exploring the farms was fun, but unfortunately, we had to head out.

Our study abroad group loaded up into the coach after thanking the Jones and Leedhams by providing them with some good ole buckeye candy, and we began our journey to Stratford-upon-Avon. Here we checked into our hotel for the night, and a group of us (including me) ate at a local pub called the Red Lion (ironic considering we ate at the White Lion earlier). Even though we have only been here for six days, tonight was by far my favorite day. Why? Well if you haven’t noticed by reading my shirt, I love dairy cattle. Being able to see a dairy farm outside of the one that I work on, and being able to talk to Jones about his dairy operation was not only incredible, but educational.

-Kaylee Jo Reed

Day 5 in the UK

We reluctantly said goodbye to Edinburgh today, and headed on our way to England. We had a beautiful, yet bouncy, ride through the Pentlands.  The landscape was striking- low mist hung on the hills, the rolling fields dotted with sheep, cows, and even goats. Someone spotted a Highland cow, with its shaggy coat and long horns.

We made a stop in the quaint town of Moffat, Scotland for snacks and shopping.
The break was welcome after the bumpy ride. Many people found gifts to take home and
enjoyed a “cuppa”. We were finally beginning to experience some of the stereotypical British
weather everyone kept talking about,  with mists, rain, and a slightly chilly wind.

We got back on our way, and arrived at our destination, Bowness-on-Windmere, England. We enjoyed lunch, which consisted of tea sandwiches and cakes.

After lunch, we walked on to the World of Beatrix Potter attraction.  After a short video about the author and the inspiration for her stories, we delighted at the displays and vignettes depicting various characters and events in Ms.Potter’s stories. There were a number of conversations about how our parents read the stories to us when we were children. There was even a garden designed to look just like the one where Peter Rabbit’s adventures occurred. The details were all there, down to the little blue jacket hanging like a scarecrow!

Our afternoon continued with a relaxing cruise on Lake Windmere. The views were beautiful, and it gave us all time to reflect on the awesome experiences we’ve had thus far.

-Suzanne Saggese

A Last Hooray in Edinburgh

Watch a quick video about our day!

A Small group of us walked to the Royal Mile and ended at the Queens Palace and Parliament.

The shops and bustling streets invite you to taste traditional Scottish foods and buy homemade goods.

The crown Jewels are housed in this building and while unable to photograph they are worth the view!

The view from top of the historical Edinburgh Castle showed the beautiful architecture.


The view of all of Edinburgh from the top of Arthur’s Seat was breathtaking. Truly a once in a lifetime experience.

After a night of truly delicious and traditional Scottish foods our tour group got to enjoy an amazing night of singing, dancing and bagpipes.

  • Posted by Rachel Garrison