Seventeen of Australia’s leading primary producers have been awarded Nuffield Farming Scholarships for 2019, with women making up the majority of scholars for the first time.
The 2019 Nuffield Scholars will receive a $30 000 bursary to travel the globe to research cutting-edge production techniques and technologies across a wide range of industries.
The 2019 cohort of scholars have selected wide-ranging study topics, from regenerative practices in wine production and the impact of livestock wellbeing on productivity, to alternative fuel sources and energy solutions for Australia’s agricultural sector.
Nuffield chief executive officer Jodie Dean said the calibre of the 2019 scholars reflected the innovative spirit inherent in Australian agriculture amid challenging seasonal conditions, and bucked the trend across many industries with women making up the majority of the field.
‘‘For nearly 70 years, Nuffield has been supporting the best and brightest in Australian agriculture, and we are delighted to once again be able to present such a strong and exciting group of scholars,’’ Ms Dean said.
‘‘Our new scholars demonstrate all the qualities we need in agriculture. They are inquisitive, creative and determined to produce change and drive the industry forward.
‘‘With the generous support of their investors, these scholars will be in a position to unearth some of the most exciting concepts, technologies and trends in global agriculture, and share their findings and insights with the wider industry once they return to Australia.
‘‘There is a big focus on sustainability amongst our 2019 scholars, with research topics including ways to reduce plastic use in fresh produce packaging and the impacts of climate variability on the red meat sector.’’
The Victorian 2019 Nuffield scholars are Natasha Shields from Baxter, supported by the William Buckland Foundation, who will investigate alternative packaging options and shelf-life outcomes for organic fresh produce in the current drive to minimise the use of plastics in Australia’s retail environment; and Anthony Close from Culla, supported by Australian Wool Innovation, who will investigate ways the Merino can become a prominent feature of the Australian farming landscape.
Merino push . . . Nuffield scholar Anthony Close.
Reducing plastics . . . Nuffield scholar Natasha Shields.