A Duchy College student has been named 2023 Cornish Mutual South West Agricultural Student of the Year

Isabella Rhodes, who is a BSc student at the college’s Stoke Climsland campus, has also received a £750 Cornish Mutual Young Farmer Higher Education Bursary and was selected for the top award from bursary recipients across the south west.

Isabella is an active Young Farmer and currently chairs the Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs Agriculture group. 

Having already completed a placement with a genetics company, Isabella is keen to pursue a career in bovine genetics.

In her application, Isabella said: “When I am not studying I split my time between work and Young Farmers’ Club, there is not a second of my waking day when I’m not thinking about agriculture in some form.”

Also at Duchy College, Henry Matthews, a Level 2 Land-based engineering student, has received a £500 Cornish Mutual Young Farmer Further Education Bursary.

Henry grew up on his family’s beef and sheep farm where he has a herd of pedigree Texel sheep. 

An active Young Farmer as well, Henry was recently elected junior vice chairman of his local Young Farmers’ Club. 

He was delighted to have won a bursary: “I will use it to buy a new welding mask with an air filter and to expand my tool collection to apply what I have learnt on my course to our machinery at home.”

The two Duchy students impressed the judges with their enthusiasm for agriculture and determination to build careers in the farming sector.

“We were once again delighted to receive a number of high quality applications for our bursaries,” said Peter Beaumont, Cornish Mutual Managing Director. “We were struck by Henry’s drive to apply the knowledge gained on his course to support both his home farm and other local farming businesses.

“Isabella stood out for her positive outlook on change and willingness to embrace challenges. Despite not coming from a farming background, she has worked hard to expand her knowledge and experience in order to build a career in the industry.”

Now in their third year, the Cornish Mutual bursaries were expanded in 2023 to include both further and higher education students, as well as introducing the overall student of the year award.

Applicants for the Further Education bursaries were asked to explain ‘Why I am studying agriculture’ and Higher Education applications were asked ‘What excited me about the future of agriculture’.

The Cornish Mutual Young Farmer Bursaries are part of the Future Farming Programme, which supports the future of agriculture in the region. 

To find out more, visit www.cornishmutual.co.uk/cmfuturefarming/young-farmer-bursaries