NEWS RELEASE: Agronomy students are a top industry ASSET

12 Jan 2012

Four crop science students have been awarded NIAB TAG’s ASSET prize for outstanding achievement in their studies.

Ben Burrows, Henry Ward, Mike Neaverson and Alex Turner each win a £3,000 bursary to assist them in their final year at university. The 2011 awards were presented to the students by Mike Warner, chairman of AICC, in front of delegates at the AICC Conference on 10th January 2012.

From left to right Ben Burrows, Harper Adams University College; Michael Neaverson, University of Nottingham; Alex Turner, University of Reading; and Henry Ward, University of Newcastle

From left to right Ben Burrows, Harper Adams University College; Michael Neaverson, University of Nottingham; Alex Turner, University of Reading; and Henry Ward, University of Newcastle


The ASSET (Agricultural Science Student Education Training) programme aims to encourage students into the plant science sector. A joint initiative between NIAB TAG and four leading crop science universities; Reading, Harper Adams, Newcastle and Nottingham, it is generously supported by the NIAB Trust and The Morley Agricultural Foundation charities.

NIAB TAG’s project leader, Juno McKee said: “We support crop science students in their studies by providing valuable agronomic information and leads, tailored to the curriculum of each university, as well as important networking links with the applied research and agronomy industry through NIAB TAG.

“The winners, one from each university, were chosen on the quality of specific second year project work, a recommendation from their tutors and an interview with our staff. We were particularly impressed by the initiative, knowledge and ambition of all our four worthy winners.”

ASSET aims to inspire students to better understand how they might aim to make a difference to the UK agricultural industry in their future careers, and to encourage the best undergraduates into careers that will support applied research and knowledge transfer for the future benefit of the arable sector.

Mr Warner said: “The ASSET programme is a great example of how we can all encourage and support much-needed new entrants into our industry. Congratulations to Ben, Henry, Mike and Alex; it is a fantastic achievement. We wish them all well in their final year of study, and look forward to watching how their careers progress in the future.”

The ASSET programme is available to second year students at a partner university enrolled in a specific crop based module. Students register their interest in participating in the programme with their course tutor, who puts forward candidates to NIAB TAG staff.


2011 Award Winners

Benjamin Burrows

Ben is studying for a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture and Crop Management at Harper Adams University College, but is currently in a placement year with Syngenta Crop Protection UK. With an arable farming background in Leicestershire, he hopes to become an agronomist on leaving university.

Michael Neaverson

Mike is a final year undergraduate on the BSc (Hons) Crop Science degree at the University of Nottingham based at Sutton Bonington. His family farms in south Lincolnshire, but Mike has gained plenty of experience across the agri-food industry including as a fresh product procurement assistant at Premier Foods, harvest work at Fen Peas, and a regular student column contributor to Farmers Weekly. He has also held the posts of Agricultural Society President and Students Union Campus Chairman at University. Mike hopes to progress into a career in either farm management or agricultural consultancy.

Alex Turner

Alex is studying Agriculture at the University of Reading, following a National Diploma in Agriculture at Bicton College. He grew up on a mixed 300-acre farm in Devon, and has seen how it has changed from dairy to beef to predominantly arable, alongside the introduction of a holiday and leisure business. Alex has enjoyed developing his agronomy skills as part of the Asset programme, putting theory into practice on the trials ground.

Henry Ward

Henry is in his final year at Newcastle University studying BSc (Hons) in Agriculture (Agronomy). On graduation he hopes to return to the 1,000 acre arable family farm and further develop his agronomy skills. His winning Asset programme project included a weed herbarium and an evaluation of NIAB TAG’s fungicide programme trials.

For further information contact:

Juno McKee, Head of Business Strategy, NIAB

T: 01223 342208

E: juno.mckee [at]

Ros Lloyd, Communications Manager, NIAB

T: 01223 342313

M: 07711 568164

E: ros.lloyd [at]