Harper Adams University (UK)-New Head of National Pig Association highlights crucial Harper Adams connections as she prepares for Scholarship event

The new head of the National Pig Association (NPA) has spoken on the crucial connections she forged during her years studying at Harper Adams.

Alumna Lizzie Wilson spend four years at Harper Adams between 1999 and 2003, studying a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture with Animal Science.

Originally from Warwickshire, where her father ran a dairy farm, Lizzie’s interest in Harper Adams was sparked through her peers when she joined her local Young Farmers Club.

She said: “Harper Adams seemed to be where most had gone or were going to uni, and the stories I heard sounded fantastic!

“I wasn’t really interesting in going anywhere else. I absolutely loved Harper. I honestly had the best four years at Harper Adams and have made so many friends for life.

“It still amazes me all these years on, what a small world it is and how often that Harper connection is highlighted when meeting people.”

During her Placement year, Lizzie worked on a series of outdoor pig units in Aberdeenshire for, what was at that time, Grampian Country Pork – and despite facing the challenge of foot and mouth, the placement helped add to her experience and interest in the pork industry.

Following her graduation, Lizzie worked at the BQP production business in Suffolk on their trials farm facility.

Working her way up through the company until 2010, Lizzie then moved to Elanco Animal Health before finally taking up a role as Regions Manager at the NPA in 2011.

Having also served as Policy Services Officer, and deputised for former Chief Executive Zoe Davies, Lizzie was selected as the new Chief Executive earlier this year.

Speaking after her appointment, NPA chairman Rob Mutimer said: “I am delighted that we have appointed Lizzie. She was an outstanding candidate from a competitive recruitment process and brings fantastic levels of experience, industry knowledge and general know-how to the role.

“She has always shown tremendous passion for the pig sector during her time with the NPA and has achieved so much for the sector already.

“While this appointment will ensure continuity, Lizzie made it clear during the recruitment process that she has a real vision for how she wants to move the NPA forward in challenging and changing times.”

Lizzie has kept in regular touch with both former friends and course mates at Harper Adams – as well as returning to the campus a number of times through her involvement with the Pig Industry Scholarship, where she both talks to current students and works with the Harper Adams Development Trust to help introduce fresh talent to the industry.

Head of Development at Harper Adams, Doris Taylor, said: “We are pleased to welcome Lizzie back to Harper Adams University again for the BPC & Pig Industry Scholarship Presentation to students on Thursday, October 19.

“At this event representatives of the pig and poultry sectors will talk to students about career opportunities in these sectors, and previous recipients of British Poultry Council and Pig Industry Scholarships will share their experiences with students who are just starting to consider options for their year in industry.”

Lizzie added: “It’s always a mix of feelings returning to Harper as although it’s so full of many happy memories and the familiarity of the campus, even now, still feels a little like coming home, it is very different – with lots of new buildings and courses!

“It is lovely to see some of the same faces however, and everyone is very welcoming.

“I really enjoy being involved with the Pig Industry Scholarship Partnership, promoting the pig industry to students and encouraging them to explore all the different career options in a sector that, although is struggling currently, has so much to offer.”