Rhona Campbell-Crawford

2022 Agricultural Student of the Year

Scotland’s Rural College

DESCRIBED by her lecturer as a ‘remarkable young woman’, Rhona’s thirst to learn about the intricacies of the agricultural industry marked her out as a strong candidate for this year’s award. Not born into agriculture but with a passion for knowledge, particularly in the livestock sector, she is currently completing the fourth year of a degree in agriculture at Scotland’s Rural College.

With the university taking the decision to switch a sizeable proportion of the course from in-person to online as a result of Covid-19 and Rhona encountering unfortunate personal circumstances, her drive to excel has been remarkable in the face of adversity. Recognised for her involvement with the college show team as a ‘master cattle show woman,’ Rhona’s ambition to pursue her love for agriculture outside of academia landed her a place onto the highly regarded and competitive SAC Consulting summer placement scheme. Taking the placement in her stride, Rhona was able to deepen her existing industry knowledge, honing in on the carbon market and producing carbon audits.

Rhona recently purchased four hectares (10 acres) of land, alongside her own flock of sheep, which consists of a mixture of breeds, including Suffolks and Blackfaces, which she intends to breed to different sires in autumn. Taking the initiative, the flock will be used in a small study to see what combination will potentially produce the best lambs suitable for the store market in 2023. Marking out a clear vision for the future, Rhona is set on a career in quality insurance inspection and consultancy work, where she can apply both the practical and scientific knowledge she has acquired throughout her journey studying agriculture.

At a glance

  • Non-farming background
  • BSc Agriculture, third year
  • Member of Strathearn JAC and has been on the committee since 2019, taking on roles including assistant secretary
  • Summer SAC placement
  • Runs her own business venture across four hectares (10 acres) of land, with her own flock of sheep
  • Described as a ‘super lamber’ with a ‘go-get-em’ attitude

What the judges said:

“In the face of adversity, Rhona displayed a tenacity to pursue a passion for agriculture both inside and outside academia. Her effervescent personality combined with her impressive knowledge of the many challenges facing the industry made her a standout finalist. She is a fantastic ambassador for those from a farming and, indeed, non-farming background.”

On winning, Rhona said: 

“I don’t want to sound cliche but I didn’t expect this. It was a stiff line up of competition and I never thought I had a chance. You always think you are just another student but when I saw I was nominated it was touching and nice to know the effort I was putting in was recognised.”