Growing up at Scotland’s most southerly point, where tractors and cows dominate the roads, meant heading down the swarming motorway towards Oxford, was an exciting adventure for my country bumpkin-self.
After accepting a Summer internship with agri -comms specialist Jane Craigie Marketing (JCM), I kicked my first week off on the Real Road Trip, travelling and sleeping in a converted Land Rover ‘George’, working with BASF and the enthusiastic Rebecca Dawes – not a bad first week to say the least.
From the word go I was let loose with a camera, notepad and pen and an embedded passion from JCM to go the extra mile for BASF was clear. Coming from an arable farm myself, it was engrossing visiting eight trial farms, discovering farm philosophies, soil management, T0 and T1 decisions, diversification strategies and farming challenges. Not forgetting the non-stop texts from Dad at home, hungry to hear what stage other wheat fields were at.
The value of the Real Results Circle shone through, with the data provided proving crucial to many growing decisions. It was also promising to hear sustainability was a real focus of many of the farms visited and that conserving the land for the future is paramount to them.
As the hours progressed on our five day trip, I absorbed the anticipation that followed as you stepped out of George at each farm. New farmers, new sights and new opportunities, twice a day, under the scorching English sun. In between interviewing, blog writing, film editing, photography, social media engagement and farm visits, we even managed a quick Tesco trolley dash in our wellies, to stock up George’s fridge.
Camping in an apple packing room in Kent was a personal highlight and needless to say a first. This quirky, rare moment confirmed that JCM is devoted to promoting the agricultural industry. A clear challenge each farmer admitted, was creating a positive public perception of farming. Hearing this first hand has energised me to help promote this wonderful industry as effectively as possible.
It also was particularly encouraging when Robin Aird and Richard Budd, invited us cheery campers along to their local pub for a meal and drink. This level of chat and bonding made me stop and think, ‘This is brilliant’. A job that’s not 9-5 but continuous. A job that’s not ticks and crosses but relationships. A job that truly cares about the industry’s people and whom therefore respect us back.
Meeting BASF’s Colin Mountford Smith for the first time, led me to gain a new love of Reese’s chocolates, a sweeter tooth and 580 miles’ worth of memorable motorway chats and chuckles. Colin and Rebecca’s relationship brought to light how committed JCM are to getting to know their clients and ensuring they are happy with every last detail; something I strive to do as a JCM intern this Summer.