Starting out on their journeys of a lifetime, 21 new hopefuls from the farming, food chain and rural industries have been announced winners of a 2010 Nuffield Farming Scholarship Award.
Drawn from all corners of the country, their travels begin in the USA at a pre-study ‘International Conference’ focusing on global food and farming issues, where they will also join fellow Nuffield Scholars from around the world, prior to setting off on their solo studies in the spring.
“Carrying the flag for British food and farming, our newly awarded Scholars are impatient to travel, to meet industry experts at the top of their fields, to gather groundbreaking information and bring back recommendations that can help steer UK farming’s future,” says John Stones, Director, Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, who congratulates this year’s award winners on their achievement and being selected form a record number of applicants in 2009.
“Our 2010 Scholars include farmers and farm managers running livestock and cropping enterprises of various sizes, several ‘farm-to-fork’ food retailers, along with a specialist sheep consultant and a conservation advisor. We have also awarded an agronomist, a farming policy adviser, a specialist avian vet and a bee keeper who is keen to research and get to the heart of the decline of the honey bee.
“Sharing a passion to study a topic that they feel strongly about, this year’s study themes include ‘new entrants to farming’ and ‘climbing the farming ladder’, ‘the route to sustainable agriculture’, ‘the search for green opportunities’ and ‘practical alternatives to inorganic fertilisers’. They also include studies on the softer skills in farming with two Scholars examining ‘the attributes of successful business people’ and ‘how to communicate effectively with farmers.”
International Conference, Washington DC
John Stones points out: “The study topics chosen by all our Scholars are highly geared towards the UK farming industry and how they can benefit UK farmers. But their first Nuffield experience is truly global.”
At an international gathering in Washington in March, UK award winners will be joined by Nuffield Scholars from Australia, Canada, France, Ireland and New Zealand – along with delegates from like-minded associations from around the world, such as the Eisenhower Fellowships [USA], the Executive Programme for Agricultural Producers [USA], Global Dairy Farmers [Netherlands], the Mexican Farm Co-operative and the Uruguayan Farmers.
The focus of this year’s event is the ‘global food crisis’, with Scholars being challenged to think about world food production, its uncertainties and its interdependencies, and understand how agriculture fits within the jigsaw of world politics, energy supplies and population growth.
How can a global population of nine billion be fed healthily and sustainably? How can it be in the best interests of a nation to maintain food prices at low levels to the detriment of food producers? How, as an industry, do we place more value on food to ensure the people who produce it can maintain an equitable and sustainable existence? These are some of the questions that will be examined and debated.
“Forming part of an ambitious international learning programme run by Nuffield, the conference will help strengthen Scholar’s understanding of the global food system and help them understand the implications for UK farming patterns,” explains John. “But, just as important, it will also provide our Scholars with an exceptional forum for exchanging their ideas and building new networks.
“Our new Scholars will soon get a feel for the bigger picture and their new contacts are bound to bring a global dimension to their future studies.
Nuffield Farming Scholarships
Supported and sponsored by leading agribusiness organisations, charities and individuals, this year’s award winners join a growing and influential group of over 600 scholars in the UK and over 1,000 worldwide, all of whom have travelled internationally and explored subjects and issues in a global context far beyond their back yards.
“A Nuffield Scholarship can open doors and provides opportunities for both life-long learning and self-improvement,” points out John Stones. “For many a Scholarship experience has changed their lives. It has opened their eyes, ears and their minds to the wider world, giving them the confidence to develop their management and business skills, to pursue their personal goals, as well as to become active leaders within UK agriculture.
“Again this year, our selection panel for new Scholars was impressed with the quality of the applications, and it is reassuring to see the enthusiasm and drive of so many younger people in the industry.
“The standard of candidates was very high and to succeed in winning an award has been a real achievement. Those who did not succeed will undoubtedly be disappointed, but will be encouraged to apply again.”
Information on Nuffield Farming Scholarship Awards – and how to apply – can be found at www.nuffieldscholar.org. Individuals interested in applying, but requiring further information, are also invited to contact the NFST Director, John Stones, on Tel. 01858 555544 (Email. firstname.lastname@example.org).
Applications for the 2011Nuffield Farming Scholarship programme will be taken up to the 15th November 2010 (latest), with shortlisted candidates being invited to attend an interview in London in late January 2011.
A summary of the 2010 Nuffield Scholarship winners follows below
2010 NUFFIELD FARMING SCHOLARS BY REGION
Rona Amiss (Crockernwell, Exeter)
Kevin Beaty (Carlisle, Cumbria)
Marnie Dobson (Tarporley, Cheshire)
Clare Greener (Much Wenlock, Shropshire)
Chris Falconer (Bideford, Devon)
Malcolm Fewster (Gomersal, Cleckheaton)
George Finch (Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire)
Helen Houghton (Towcester, Northants)
Scott Kirby (Newport, Shropshire)
Jo Paterson (Buntingford, Herts)
James Peck (Dry Drayton, Cambridge)
Tim Powell (Bridgnorth, Shropshire)
Caroline Stocks (Vauxhall, London)
Helen Thoday (Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire)
Adam West (Ledbury, Herefordshire)
Michael Blanche (Methven, Perth)
Jim Baird (Kirkfieldbank, Lanark)
Andrew Scarlett (Meigle, Perthshire)
Tony Davies (Rhayader, Powys)
Arwyn Owen (Beddgelert, Gwynedd)
Rhys Williams (Pwllheli, Gwynedd)
Source: Nuffield Farming Scholarships