Royal Bath & West Show, More About Uranus, and Spectacular Views.

Hello everyone, it is your main man Zach Parrott on the blog today.  So today was the Royal Bath & West Show tour. My expectations were pretty met when I was told it was just a huge county fair. So the sights of vendors filling the street trying to sell you their junk and thousands of places to get food. When I walked in through the yellow gates, I recognized the scent of manure and the sound of sheep, hogs, and cows in the distance. So it was pretty much just like home. The first thing our tour guide showed us were the sheep tents, so of course me being the sheep guy I was excited. They had your typical breeds that I was familiar with, like Hampshires, Shropshires, Dorsets, Southdowns, and Suffolks. However, the Texas was a new breed to me. These sheep looked like a stubby bulldogs with a longer body and hooves. One thing I learned is that some of the breeders dye the wool of their sheep so that they can tell which animal belongs to which breeder if animals got mixed together. Next were the hogs. We got to watch the 2-5 year old showmanship hog show. In the UK instead of whips or canes, showmen use two boards to control the direction of where they want the hog to walk which seemed to make things more difficult. Luckily the little ones had help from an adult when they were showing these animals that weighed 10X more than them. After that we went to see the cattle barns. The one thing that stuck out in that barn was their was a breed call a Blue Limousine. This thing was the Mike Tyson of cattle breeds. It had muscles popping out of it’s muscles. A picture of the beast will be at the bottom of the blog. I’m pretty sure this specimen had rhino in it’s family tree. After that we walked toward the horses and got a glimpse of how huge the horse shows are in the UK. They had, I believe four rings specifically for horse showing. Once our tour was over we had free time to roam the fairgrounds wherever we wanted. I walked with Caleb Haines and Paige Schaffter. We walked around the trade show, and laughed at all the weird Knick knacks and stuff vendors were selling. We grabbed a bite to eat, and I had a lamb burger. We ate and watched some live music. We saw horse shoeing, honey collecting, a falconer show, and the most impressive Terrier Racing, where they took tiny dogs and had them chase a rabbit dummy. The fair was really cool and had a lot of similarities to fairs in Ohio.


After the Royal Bath & West Show, we got to have free time in Bath. I noticed on the first day that Bath is a location where women can go shop for fancy clothes and shoes, while the the men stand around looking at the pretty architecture. That sounded loads of fun to the women, however Caleb and I had other plans. The ladies wanted to go see the Jane Austin Museum, so Caleb and I just started walking. I started googling sights and spots to see in Bath, and we saw just about everything on the list yesterday. I saw one intriguing spot on the list, that was the Herschel Museum of History. I remember as a kid being fascinated by the stars, so my imagination said let’s go check out some cool observatory stuff. We walked roughly 12 minutes until we made it to this little apartment building. I felt like I was just walking into somebodies house uninvited. We asked the old man at the counter who said this was the spot. We paid £6.50 for a 20 minute walk through the man who discovered Uranus’s house. There was a small dining room and a telescope on the second floor. There was also a basement, that had a creepy cave looking room that was all black so you could watch the 15 minute video of William Herschel and his wife on how they discovered the great planet of Uranus. It’s actually very impressive his process on discovering the planet, because he was a musician for starters, but the museum was soooo boring. Luckily Caleb asked the old man at the counter of the museum where’s the best place to overlook Bath, and he sent us to Alexandria Park which was a 45 minute walk which included 80 steps up a hill. Caleb and I made our treacherous journey to Alexandria Park, avoiding box care and buses. Once we started walking up the 80 steps, we promised each other not to turn around and peak a look. Once we made it to the top, the view was completely worth it. A picture will be posted at the end of the blog, but it’s a sight that can’t be described in a picture. Absolutely Breathtaking. Fortunately, if it wasn’t for the Old Man at the Uranus Museum we would’ve never found that park and the path back was right behind our hotel. So the walk back was a breeze and we made it back safe. Here are the pictures…..

Communication Lessons & Baths

I’ve never seen college students so happy to stop at a McDonald’s restaurant as I have today. To preface this, the United Kingdom drinks more tea than coffee (surprise, surprise), but the coffee they do have, as I have been told is atrocious. Needless to say, stopping for some fast-food coffee might be the highlight for some students!

We started our day at Rural Agricultural University (RAU) in Cirencester, England. This area is known as the capital of the Cotswolds, which offers gorgeous scenery! We met with Dr. Steven Chadd, a former administrator, and lecturer at RAU. He talked about the history and background of RAU and the programs they offer.

RAU was granted a royal charter from Queen Victoria in 1845 and opened its doors with 25 students. Today, 1,200 students attend RAU, and graduate from four “schools”- Agriculture, Food, and Environment; Equine Management and Science; Real Estate and Rural Land Management; and Business and Entrepreneurship. Ohio State University is very similar to RAU in the way the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is divided into departments like ACEL or AEDE. These are then further divided into majors or “disciplines” at RAU. Dr. Chadd continued with the different degrees the university offers. There is a one-year “certificate” of sorts that Dr. Chadd described as “a crash course in agriculture”. RAU does offer Ph.D. programs, but Dr. Chadd noted that they only have a handful of post-graduate students.

Most similarly to OSU, specifically the Wooster campus, RAU has its own farms. They own over 400 hectares, which is roughly 988 acres. There they have a sheep operation with 400 breeding ewes, a dairy facility with 900 cows, and an organic completely outdoor pig farm with 100 sows and their offspring. The livestock is fed out and taken to market once they reach roughly 200 pounds. I found the facility to be especially interesting because it’s completely outside and because it’s a joint venture with a nearby farmer. Essentially, RAU owns the infrastructure and uses it for educational purposes, and the farmer owns the pigs and pays the labor.

Another similarity to most US university’s is that second-year students must complete a “placement” which is basically an internship to gain industry experience and build network connections. Unlike the US, RAU’s school year goes from October to June, and students were in the midst of exams when we were there today. Their tuition is similar to most public university’s at around $11,500, although the UK government is trying to lower their tuition costs for students.

Our next presenter was Dr. Peter Morris LLB (Honors), a communication/media professor. He noted that he’s previously commentated rugby games and equine events and owns his own media and journalism business called Vocal Solutions. Most strikingly, he said that our job as communicators for the ag industry is to use the power we have in a conscientious way and assimilate and validate the information we have. Additionally, he noted that peoples’ perceptions of various things are born through the media. For example, the UK receives NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, and American Pickers TV show. While the US gets Downton Abbey, Sherlock Holmes, and other BBC programming. Both parties are guilty of stereotyping the other based on the TV shows we watch. Furthermore, to highlight his point, Dr. Morris showed us a video featuring a very fun and large agriculture event in the UK, but what people don’t see is the “dark side” of ag or all the issues farmers are facing, and the US is experiencing a similar fate. Additionally, the UK is also facing the problem of the lack of broadband internet in rural areas. It’s pertinent to make the internet accessible to farmers for emergencies, market updates, and other uses. Lastly, Dr. Morris said, “the biggest reason why agriculture makes the news is due to sensationalism,” and I feel this is especially true in the United States. In addition to this, the U.S. and the UK also struggle with fake news and deciphering what is true. Not to fear though, Dr. Morris offered us some exceptional advice: Ask where it was reported, where else it was reported, what is the source, and does it “feel” true? Those are the best questions to debunk and invalidate fake news.

Afterward, we took a short tour around the campus to see student housing (which is similar to most universities where freshman live on-campus, and upperclassmen rent off-campus properties with others), dining halls, chapel, and student union/gift shop. Did I need another crewneck sweatshirt? Absolutely not. But when else will I visit RAU?

After RAU, we headed to Bath, England where we visited the historic Roman Baths and hot springs and took a walking tour with Louise around the city. After the fabulous and exciting tour of the city, we went back to the hotel to change and get dinner on our own. Word to the wise, The Scallop Shell has the best, fried fish I’ve ever eaten! 10/10 would definitely recommend. Honestly, today was my favorite day so far, from the communication lessons from Dr. Morris and Dr. Chadd to the audio tour at the Baths, and the walking tour around the city. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store!



(At this point I would hope that most of you said I-O)

It is now day 3 here on the U.K. study abroad trip and I think I can speak on behalf of all of us from OSU, it has been absolutely amazing. After we have all adjusted to the 5 hour time difference, we were ready to dive into today’s adventure: Writtle University.

We started our journey to Writtle University at 8:30 this morning. Upon arrival we met Jane Hart and Hannah who were generous enough to give us the tour. She explained how the university was represented a clock face where 12 o’clock was the Equine Facility, 3 o’clock was the K9 Unit, and 6 o’clock was the labs & offices. Our first stop was the livestock facility where they housed sheep, cattle, and pigs. There we met up with Katie who ran the operations out there. She proceeded to tell us all about their crop production and how hard Brexit was going to hit the farmers.

Katie explaining crop production

We took a quick glance at the sheep barn where there was about 10 sheep in a pen. Although we didn’t see many sheep there, Hannah told us that they had roughly 150 ewes and 300 lambs for this season.

Our next stop was the beef facility. The first thing we saw was the handling facility which was designed by Temple Grandin (who ironically designed the beef handling facility at OSU ATI). We were able to observe 2 pens of Red Poll beef cattle which Hannah described to be the equivalent to our red angus beef cattle. The first pen was weaned 2 year old and the second was bulls.

We ventured a little farther into the property where we met James. James is in charge of the swine facility for Writtle University. Although he has only been working here a year and a half, he has been working with swine his entire life. Those who chose to do so got dressed in orange jumpsuits and white boots and started the tour. The first building we went into was the farrowing facility where we had the opportunity to see piglets just several hours old. James continued the tour to the weaning pens, then lastly the sows pen. On behalf of my self and a few other student we really enjoyed being able to have a personal one-on-one interaction with him and talk about all the similarities and differences between how the U.S.A. and the U.K. operated.

Piglets just hours old

Our last tour of the university was at their Equine Facility, where we met up with Jane and Penny who talked about the operations. Right away you could tell that out of all the livestock, equine was one of their most prized animal. The facilities, which included: handling facility, arena’s, paddocks, and veterinary equine therapy facility were absolutely amazing. Some of the building were brand new facilities which were very well maintained. We were able to meet rescue horses as well as 2 of their stallions. After finishing up at the Equine unit we went back to the student cafeteria where they served us a very, very good lunch. 


After arriving at the hotel, shortly after a group of us ventured out to do self tours of London. Some of our stops consisted of Buckingham Palace (THE QUEEN WAS HOME), the London Eye, and lastly Westminster Abbey. We certainly figured out our way around the tube after today.

PSA to Parents, Family, and Friends:

Without any of you we wouldn’t be able to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. We know it may not have been easy on you guys but we can not show enough appreciation for everyone who supported us on this journey. We may not be able to talk to everyday but on behalf of all of us. We miss you. We love you. We will see you soon.


Visiting Farmers Weekly, the U.S. embassy and more!

Today our group started off the morning with breakfast at the hotel and a drive to Sutton. There, we visited Farmers Weekly, a magazine and online publication for agriculturists. We listened to a presentation by Karl Schneider, the editor. He shared a great deal of information with us about agriculture in the UK, as well as about the company in general. It was very interesting to hear about the popularity of poultry farming in the UK, as it is popular in the U.S., but not quite as big as an industry. Schneider’s thoughts about agriculture’s future in the UK were insightful as well. He

Our visit to Farmers Weekly was great!

mentioned many changes that the U.S. will also see, including a growing technology, changing consumer opinions, eating preferences, and increasing environmental concerns. We also learned the different ways Brexit can affect UK farmers. Schneider predicted anything from pressure on profitability to reduced market prices. Overall, the group asked questions about the UK and learned key differences from the U.S. In terms of learning about the publication, there were not many differences between U.S. and UK agricultural journalism companies. Farmers Weekly is the number one magazine in the UK for farmers, and the number one community website for online trading platforms. Their branding is strong and well known. So much so that it was especially surprising to hear that their readers prefer hard copies of the magazine over digital. Although the publication also has a strong drive to constantly improve their online platforms. They focus on actionable content that farmers can use and apply. In terms of their hands-on approach, they also host workshops and events, such as a soils day. It is great that the magazine focuses so diligently to help their farmer-readers succeed and grow their farms. This first stop allowed us all to have a better understanding of UK agriculture, and agricultural publications around the area.

Our group at the U.S. embassy.

Our next stop was at the U.S. Embassy, where we listened to a presentation by Steve Knight from the USDA. He shared information about his job, which includes reporting information about the UK to the U.S., as well as dealing with trade policy. It was interesting to hear about the role he and his coworkers play in trade, as well as commonly traded products between the U.S. and the UK. For example, Knight shared that a growing import into the U.K. from the U.S. is wood pellets. These pellets are burned instead of coal for energy. Knight went on to explain Brexit as a whole to our group, as well as personal predictions he saw for the future. Not only did he share insight about the USDA and it’s connection to the UK, but also about policy in general. It was interesting to hear his opinions and to learn more about how our two countries interact. The visit helped our group understand more about Knight’s role at the USDA and agricultural trade in general.

Meredith and I with a famous London phone booth.

The group had the rest of the evening free. Most of us headed back to the hotel to regroup and some of us went to Westminister Abbey. A few of us used this time to take some photos in the park and ate dinner at pub called the Old Swan. We also saw some other members of our group that ate there. The food was amazing!

The day wrapped up with a group reflection in the late evening and was led by Dr. Miller. It was great to get to know the other students from University of Tennessee and University of Arkansas better. We also enjoyed reflecting on all we had learned that day as well as what we hoped to learn more about!

Overall, today taught all of us a great deal about agriculture in the UK. Not only did we get to learn more about the agricultural journalism realm, but also agricultural policy. I can say without a doubt that everyone is more than excited to continue to see more differences and to see UK agriculture as a whole!



Buckeyes Abroad – Across The Pond

Hello From The United Kingdom! Us Buckeyes landed safely across the pond in the wee hours this fine Monday morning. While our day was full of persistent yawns and casual cat naps on the bus; we all did our best to soak up as much history and knowledge that came our way during our various tours.

After arriving at the airport, we were joined by fellow Ag Communicators from The University of Arkansas and The University of Tennessee. Over the next two weeks- Buckeyes, Razorbacks and Vols will be making their way through The United Kingdom in hopes to understand the agriculture industry more deeply on a global scale. While we have many upcoming agriculture related tours and events, today we played the part of a classic London tourists.

Our first stop was at the historic London Tower. The fortress was built in the 1070’s, its architecture is full of history and its walls whisper stories of the past. The Tower holds the infamous Crown Jewels that are guarded meticulously by former military members called, “Beef Eaters” ….(Don’t ask us how they got the name). These guards watch over the  Queen’s precious jewels and also protect the fortress.

“I found it very interesting that the Beef Eaters actually take residence in the fortress,” said Shae Leeper, a Junior studying agriculture communication.

Our next and final stop was none other than Kensington Palace. Home to many famous monarchs, this palace has withstood the test of time. Kensington is currently occupied by Prince William and his wife Kate, along with their three children. Inside the palace was an exhibit surrounding Queen Victoria’s life, as she is one of the most famous and influential English queens of all-time. The exhibits showed her childhood to her beloved jewels to her mourning wardrobe she wore after her Husband Arthur died. Kensington also paid tribute to Princess Diana, by displaying some of her famous ensembles and portraits. After combing through all the history in the palace, we went and explored the lively and luscious Kensington Gardens.

Everywhere you looked beautiful greenery was splashed across the landscape, along with colorful blooms. I stood for a moment in the famous garden and thought of all the historic people who may have enjoyed this heavenly oasis. I wondered if its beauty gave them a sense of joy as it did for me. The Gardens were my personal favorite part of the activities we took part in today.

While it is only the first day of many here in The United Kingdom, I am extremely eager to soak up as much of its culture as I possibly can in the days to come.

Check back tomorrow for another Buckeye giving their update concerning our trip!

-Emily Beal

Below are pictured captured by Emily showcasing our activities

Two Beef Eaters sharing a quick chat.

The gates to enter The Tower of London.

A guard on duty at The Tower of London.

Queen Victoria’s diamond encrusted crown, still worn by royals today for special occasions.

A famous Diana ensemble sketch and portrait.

Luscious, green hallways in the Kensington Garden.

A statue of Queen Victoria sits at the front of Kensington Palace.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Thanks for following the adventures of the 2019 UK study abroad group! As the Ohio State resident director (until Dr. Buck joins us later this week), I get to make the inaugural post!

We left Columbus this afternoon around 3 and just arrived for our layover in Philadelphia. We’ll head out of Philly at 6:40 PM and are scheduled to arrive at Heathrow around 6:45 AM local time (or a little before 2 AM in Ohio; the UK is about 5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time). We’ll meet up with our friends from Arkansas and Tennessee at the airport to start our UK adventure.

No rest for the weary: We’ll start our sightseeing tour of London as soon as we make it through baggage claim and customs! I’m most excited for our visit to Kensington Palace, which just opened two new exhibits celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. As both a history nerd and a lifelong Anglophile, I can’t wait to explore London with our students!

Be sure to check back daily for updates on our trip. Each day, a new student will blog about his or her experiences, so follow along as we continue our travels through England and Scotland.



Heading Across the Pond!

Please join us as students in ACEL’s UK Study Abroad share their experiences during our 2 week excursion. Come back every day to see our adventures.  -Dr. Buck