Nurturing Talent is Key to Future Success

Nurturing Talent is Key to Future Success

Douglas Drysdale
10th May 2023

Our organisation is Scotland’s leading agronomy advice service, and we’re dedicated to developing the future of arable farming expertise. I’m proud to say that we’ve been successful in achieving this goal through our commitment to continually developing our team and providing opportunities for young people.

At Scottish Agronomy, we believe that the most critical step in building a strong and knowledgeable team is the selection and recruitment of good people. That’s why we’ve been employing four students each summer to join our trials team for the harvest. Successful applicants participate in all aspects of our extensive network of field trials in Scotland, giving them the chance to learn about practical crop research methods and enhance their soft skills like teamwork, resilience, and problem-solving.

Adam Christie, our managing director says

“The most important step in building such a strong and knowledgeable team, which will continue to provide excellent service to members, is the selection and recruitment of good people.”


Caitlin Ritchie was one of our summer students in 2022, and she had a fantastic experience with us. She gained a range of new experiences and skills, learned more about the technical side of arable farming, and worked with the team to assess crop characteristics like standing power and disease scoring. Like many others before her, Caitlin secured a permanent position with Scottish Agronomy when she completed her studies. After spending the winter gaining further training and development from senior staff she is now a Trials Officer able to make a valuable contribution to the busy and dynamic team.


As a student taking a break from her business degree during summer, Emma Hamilton jumped at the opportunity to work with the team at harvest time. She already had an interest in agriculture but the experience made her determined to pursue a career in the sector. When a job opportunity opened up she applied immediately.


‘Since my return in 2020, I have become involved in data processing at Scottish Agronomy, particularly in the Potato Trials. From going out to assess them, processing the raw data to digging them, and creating the end-of-year reports I’ve been involved with the whole process’


Alistair began his career at Scottish Agronomy during his university studies. He chose to spend four summers helping with the harvest and hasn’t looked back since. Recently promoted to Senior Trials Officer he is excited about new responsibilities organising grain samples and ensuring all the required testing is expedited. He would like to learn more about analysis of the crop trials data and how that can be translated into effective advice for farmers.


I am proud to say we have a track record of students returning to work with us at harvest time over consecutive years and then joining us permanently. It has been an effective way to find team members with a genuine passion for trials work, and all it involves. It is rewarding to see the development of individuals in our organisation, many of our senior staff started as summer students helping with harvest and discovered a passion for agricultural research.


As the field trials department moves into the busy season I am witnessing first hand the advantages of our commitment to staff training and development. Our highly motivated, dynamic and energetic team are not only a pleasure to work with but also rise to every challenge in the often demanding environment of field trials work.


Scottish Agronomy has successfully developed its personnel in an unpredictable climate and is growing the next generation of specialists. The organisation’s commitment to continually developing our teams and providing opportunities for young people is evidence of the focus we place on practical, sustainable, and value-based solutions that will help shape the future of arable farming expertise in Scotland.

Douglas Drysdale

Field Trials Manager

Scottish Agronomy


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