Oliver Hayter with David Casebow and Edward Hildred
A young farmer who is hoping for a university place has triumphed at a national competition.
Oliver Hayter, of Southsea Avenue, Minster, is working towards an extended diploma in agriculture at Sparsholt College near Winchester and he has already applied to continue his studies by doing a BSc at university.
As part of his course, he and some fellow pupils took part in a catchment sensitive farming competition.
Catchment sensitive farming aims to reduce diffuse water pollution from agriculture, and that was the theme of the challenge set to the students. The competition was an inter-college event run jointly by Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Diffuse water pollution arises from many sources which together can be damaging to rivers, lakes, coastal water and groundwater, and it can be caused by the way agricultural land is used.
Former Isle of Sheppey Academy pupil Oliver, 17, was one of 23 from Sparsholt who took part in the first round of the competition, which was to assess farming practices.
In groups, they produced a plan based on their findings and were judged to have the most critical report so were selected to represent the college at the final.
Despite stiff competition, Oliver and his fellow students David Casebow, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, and Edward Hildred from Winchester, Hampshire, were voted the winners due to their understanding of the issues.
Oliver has worked part-time with Sheppey farmer William Lawrence since he was about 15 and he splits his time between his studies and practical work here on the Island.
Catchment sensitive farming officer Charlotte Elliott said: “The three young men from Sparsholt gave a very professional presentation and were a credit to the college.”
Oliver said he was looking forward to a career working in the field. He added: “Sparsholt College has enabled me to apply to university this year, where I hope to study a BSc in agriculture.”