The Global Focus Programme (GFP) tour is a great opportunity for Nuffield Scholars to undertake some extra travel as part of a small group of International Nuffield Scholars.
In addition to my personal Nuffield travels, I will participating in a GFP tour with only eight other people traveling extensively on an intense programme of farm and agri-industry related visits, spanning across six different nations.
Over eight weeks, I will be visiting France, UK, USA, Mexico, Brazil and New Zealand on a set itinerary with the below International Nuffield Scholars. This will be a fantastic opportunity to learn about a broad range of agricultural systems operating across the globe which are exposed to very different political, social, economic and environmental conditions.
The study programme commences during early March 2016, and throughout, I will be updating this site with regular posts, sharing my experiences and the knowledge gained.
Who will I be traveling with and what are their personal Nuffield study topics?
Richard Appleton, from Queensland in Australia, will study animal husbandry practices, with a particular focus on dehorning and castrating cattle. Richard manages operations of two of his family’s properties and oversees managers four additional properties. Collectively the 180,000 hectare enterprise consists of 45-thousand cattle including 14,500 breeding cows. Steers are mainly fattened and sold to meatworks, with the remainder sold into the feeder market. Richard is to investigate how animal husbandry practices and regulations in Australia differ to those implemented around the world.
James Dempster, from Western Australia, will study innovative ways to expand the family farm, to add to existing options like buying more farm land and the concept of collaborative farming. In partnership with his parents and brother, James manages a 6,000 hectare mixed crop and livestock property, with 4,500 hectares of wheat, canola and lupins in rotation, and a self-replacing merino flock for wool and meat production. James plans to use the insights gained from his scholarship experience to potentially implement new businesses structures on his property and share his knowledge with others.
Tom Dinneen is from County Cork in Ireland. Tom’s study topic will explore opportunities for dairy farm diversification. Tom is a dairy farmer with 130 cows, plus followers. In 2014, Tom and Norma founded their farmhouse cheese company Bó Rua Farm. Countries which Tom intends to travel to in pursuit of his study topic are the Holland, England, Italy, Austria, France, Australia and New Zealand.
Angus Duddy, from New South Wales in Australia, will investigate whether agriculture and mining can co-exist and, if so, do mining operations present landholders with opportunities to tap into alternative energy sources and recycled water that will benefit their production. Angus jointly manages a 2350 ha mixed grain, beef and dryland cotton property with his wife. They use a rotation of cotton, sorghum and wheat/pulses and operate an 500-head AUS-MEAT accredited feed lot. Angus’ scholarship research is pertinent to the operation, as it sits across two mining exploration licence areas.
Liz Manchee, from New South Wales in Australia will focus on the performance and profitability of producing ‘natural’ lofted beef, considering genetics traceability claims. Liz and her husband own a beef breeding and feedlot operation, producing stud and commercial Shorthorn and Durham Tropical cattle with a focus on paddock-to-plate traits. They run 1400-head of breeding females and sell 150 bulls per year, across 7500 ha and their business also has a 600-head feedlot, fodder production for drought management and mixed summer and winter cropping. The family was runner-up NSW Farmer of the Year in 2011 and their goal is to make the business more vertically integrated in a supply chain that preferably supplies branded ‘natural’ lotfed beef.
Suzanne Ruesink, form Aalten, in The Netherlands, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by PRIVON. She will research how by improving the citizen farmer link, it would be possible to increase the income of pig farmers. Suzanne is married and with her parents, owns a dairy farm with 160 dairy cows and a pig farm with 3,300 porkers. Beside that they organise the Farm & Country Fair every year. This event attracts 40,000 people to their farm. By organising the fair, they try to improve the citizen farmer link. For her travels, Suzanne plans to visit New Zealand, USA and Brazil.
Tom Skerman, from Hastings in New Zealand, believes successful and resilient farming businesses are well governed and will research this topic further on his scholarship. Tom works as the economic development manager for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and is a member of the Ruataniwha Water Storage Project. Tom is also a director and co-owner of farm financial software business, Figured. Tom worked as the commercial development manager for Maori trust Te Tumu Paeroa identifying, analysing and executing commercial opportunities for clients, owners of Maori freehold land totalling 100,000 hectares. Tom wants to identify and understand leading examples of how governance can add value to an agri-business, regardless of its size.
Randall Wilksch is from South Australia. He will study two topics: broad scale spraying systems used in grain production, with a particular focus on improving the efficiency of self-propelled (SP) sprayers; and advocating for agriculture positively through social media. As a partner in his family’s 3650-hectare grain production enterprise (on owned and leased land), Randall’s key responsibility is managing spraying and crop protection for wheat, canola, faba bean, lentil, lupin and barley plantings. Randall will look at more cost effective, broad scale spraying methods using high-capacity SP units.