Agri-food scholar to do global tour

The Southland Times - - NEWS - JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN

Kate Scott is a busy woman. It’s about to get a lot busier.

The 37-year-old Ban­nock­burn mother of three young chil­dren, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Cromwell­based Land­pro Ltd and wa­ter catch­ment group project man­ager is about to em­bark on a 12-month re­search pro­gramme af­ter win­ning a Nuffield Schol­ar­ship.

The schol­ar­ship is awarded up to five peo­ple an­nu­ally who are iden­ti­fied as fu­ture lead­ers in the agri-food sec­tor.

Dur­ing the course of the pro­gramme, Scott will travel to the Nether­lands in March to at­tend a con­tem­po­rary schol­ars con­fer­ence, un­der­take a six-week tour with a group of in­ter­na­tional schol­ars trav­el­ling to five or six coun­tries, vis­it­ing three to four con­ti­nents, and com­plete an in­di­vid­ual re­search pro­gramme which in­cludes up to 10 weeks travel.

Scott said her re­search would in­volve look­ing at ways for agri­cul­ture in New Zealand to im­prove its en­vi­ron­men­tal out­put and look­ing at the com­bi­na­tion of tech­nol­ogy and pol­icy to help achieve that.

‘‘As part of that, it will in­volve tak­ing a step back and look­ing at where New Zealand is at from an en­vi­ron­men­tal point of view com­pared with other agri­cul­tural na­tions and look­ing at where New Zealand is at.

‘‘How far do we have to go? What is the plan to get­ting to the point where we are ac­tu­ally en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able in terms of pro­duc­ing our food?’’

Her re­search was linked to her job at Land­pro - a plan­ning and sur­vey­ing com­pany she jointly founded in 2007.

‘‘I guess as a re­source man­age­ment plan­ner I am us­ing rules and plans and see­ing the changes that coun­cils are try­ing to make and see­ing in some in­stances they are not work­ing par­tic­u­larly well.

‘‘The meth­ods they are try­ing to im­pose - is there a bet­ter way that is go­ing to get a good out­come?

‘‘I hope in the fu­ture we can come up with a bet­ter method­ol­ogy or some bet­ter tools and poli­cies we can look to ap­ply that gets a bet­ter out­come.’’

Be­fore start­ing her com­pany, she and her hus­band Scott Lev­ings were manag­ing a 200ha dairy farm at Roxburgh where both were in­volved in the day to day op­er­a­tion of the farm.

Kate was pas­sion­ate about the pri­mary in­dus­tries and the en­vi­ron­ment, and worked across a broad range of sec­tors, in­clud­ing dairy, sheep and beef, hor­ti­cul­ture and viti­cul­ture.

Kate also had ex­ten­sive ir­ri­ga­tion ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing as the project man­ager for the Manuherikia Catch­ment.

‘‘I was pretty ex­cited to get the schol­ar­ship. When you start to think about it, it gets a lit­tle daunt­ing. I have got the next 12 months of study then it will in­volve about five months of travel.

‘‘I hope to take my fam­ily along for the self-study com­po­nent ... There are some ad­van­tages of be­ing able to get away from your own busi­ness. I’ll still be around and in­volved but I’ll just take some time out.’’

Nuffield Schol­ar­ships have been awarded to more than 140 emerg­ing lead­ers in New Zealand over the past 60 years.

Nuffield Schol­ars come from a wide range of back­grounds from prac­ti­cal hands-on farm­ing across agri­cul­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture through to pol­icy ad­vi­sors and agribusi­ness managers.

They all have a close af­fil­i­a­tion with prac­ti­cal agri­cul­ture and a pas­sion and de­sire to help shape and lead the fu­ture of their in­dus­try.

Bri­tish in­dus­tri­al­ist and phi­lan­thropist Wil­liam Mor­ris, later Lord Nuffield, ini­ti­ated the trav­el­ling schol­ar­ship scheme for Bri­tish and Em­pire farm­ers in the af­ter­math of World War II to recog­nise their con­tri­bu­tion to feed­ing the na­tion through the war and as a method of ad­vanc­ing best prac­tice in agri­cul­ture around the world.

The first two se­lected in 1947.

Today, seven coun­tries par­tic­i­pate in the scheme. schol­ars were

Kate Scott

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