Stephen Finch


Steve Finch


When did you join the RAU and what brought you here?

I joined the RAC as it was then in 1989, I was keen to develop my career in agriculture and agronomy into higher education and being ahead of my time, I was very keen on the environmental impacts of crop production that has since become such a major concern.

How did you get into Crop Production?

I joined ADAS after leaving university with a degree in agriculture and became a general advisor in the south east. Gradually I began to specialise into arable farming with a particular interest in potatoes and sugar beet, as well as the usual cereals, oilseeds and legumes. As an advisor I was also very much involved in farm management issues, as well as the sustainable management of soil.

What made you go into teaching?

I've always been interested in helping others understand the complex and unpredictable world of farming, particularly in the UK where the weather can be so fickle! 

What do you enjoy about it?

Working with young people, helping them develop their knowledge and skills. Watching them grow in confidence over the course of a programme of study.

What’s the most challenging aspect of teaching/learning about agronomy?

Trying to marry the scientific study of plants with economics and strategic thinking.

What would be your top three tips for anyone thinking of....

  1. starting a UG/PG course?
  • Choose a course you are really interested in, that passion and commitment will see you through and you will enjoy yourself 
  • Do a little background study to make sure you are well prepared?
  • Choose the right type of university for you


How would you describe life at the RAU/Cirencester?

Fun – fun learning and fun socially 

What makes it distinctive/special?

It’s a small, friendly, country campus; you quickly get to know all your fellow students and all the staff.  Unlike big universities, you can drop in on your lecturers at any time and discuss any problems with people who want to help you learn.

What’s your favourite spot on campus and why?

The lecture blocks’ foyers where one can meet students and talk through some of their issues using the media technology that has been installed.