My Nuffield Farming Scholarship

The NUFFIELD FARMING SCHOLARSHIPS TRUST is an independent, industry funded charitable organisation. Each year, the Trust awards approximately 20 scholarships to people who work within food, farming, horticulture, rural and associated industries to travel and study a topic which each scholar is passionate about.

Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Receiving my Nuffield tie from HRH The Duke of Gloucester at the 2015 Belfast Nuffield Conference

As a 2016 Nuffield Scholar,  I am extremely grateful to the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust for sponsoring me to travel and study a topic which I believe is highly relevant to the agricultural sector.

My Nuffield journey is split into two phases:

1. My Personal Nuffield Study

My Study: Addressing the perceived failings of short-term land occupation

Our most valuable asset – the land and soils in which we rely upon to supply food – is progressively coming under strain as businesses look for short-term gain in an era of increasing price volatility and uncertainty within the market.  The notable degradation of soils and organic matter, are just a couple of notable negative outcomes.

As a rural surveyor providing advice to clients on how best to manage their asset base, I am conscious of the impact occupation decisions can have on the productivity of soils, and thus the overall impact on value of the asset.

My study will question whether short-term land occupation has led to inefficiency within our food production system, and explore possible solutions to address the issue.

Throughout my study, I intend to visit a range of European countries including Ireland, Germany and The Netherlands together with Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Romania where a range of occupation and collaborative structures are promoted. This travel will be done independently.

To find out more about my personal Nuffield Study, please click here.

2. Global Focus Programme Tour

In addition to my own scholarship, I am extremely fortunate to have been awarded a Global Focus Programme Tour in which I will be spending a designated amount of time with a small group of International Nuffield Scholars visiting France, UK, USA, Mexico, Brazil and New Zealand. 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.

This tour commences in March 2016 and upon commencement I will be updating this blog throughout my travels.

To find out more about my Global Focus Programme Tour, please click here.

I thrive from meeting and interacting with enthusiastic and knowledgeable people that are passionate about farming and the rural environment, and to have the privilege of doing this within the global classroom is a very exciting prospect. Throughout my scholarship, I look forward to sharing my experiences and the knowledge gained with the wider farming community, so please do follow me on this site.