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.
Announced at the Nuffield National Conference Annual Awards Dinner in Melbourne, 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 CEO, Jodie Dean, said the calibre of the 2019 Scholars reflects the innovative spirit inherent in Australian agriculture amidst challenging seasonal conditions, and bucks 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. I believe this is indicative of their passion for the long-term viability of the industry.”
The National Conference is Nuffield Australia’s flagship event, providing a meeting point for Australian farmers and agricultural innovators to share their latest research findings with industry, and to network with the broader agribusiness supply chain.
The 2019 Nuffield Scholars, and their investors, are
Renée Anderson • Rebecca Comiskey • Alistair Corr • Thomas Green • Richard Leask • Ellen Litchfield • Frank Miller • Thomas Moore • Andrew Sargent • Natasha Shields • Clare Peltzer • Kerri-Ann Lamb • Jake Newnham • Johanna Tomlinson • Tamara Uebergang • Anthony Close • Christina Kelman
- Natasha Shields from Baxter, supported by the William Buckland Foundation, 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.
- Anthony Close from Culla, supported by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), will investigate ways that the Merino can once again become a prominent feature of the Australian farming landscape.
- Richard Leask from McLaren Vale, supported by Wine Australia, will research best practice regenerative farming systems across the wine sector to understand how to successfully transition to less chemically intensive models.
- Thomas Green from Tintinara, supported by Rabobank, will research ways to build consumer confidence in intensive agricultural systems through the implementation of best practice in animal welfare.
- Ellen Litchfield from Marree, supported by Westpac Agribusiness, will investigate the impacts of climate change on red meat production and profitability in arid and semi-arid rangelands.
- Andrew Sargent from Crystal Brook, supported by the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), will investigate how farm sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) can improve the efficiency and profitability of cropping and mixed farming enterprises.
New South Wales
- Christina Kelman from Kemps Creek, supported by Hort Innovation, will investigate ways the Australian horticulture sector can increase outputs while reducing inputs and farming sustainably.
- Thomas Moore from Tenterfield, supported by the Royal Agriculture Society of NSW Foundation (RASF), will investigate innovative housing methods to promote the growth of Australia’s free-range egg industry.
- Renée Anderson from Emerald, supported by Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), will investigate management practices that improve the social, environmental and economic sustainability of agriculture, and communicate positive farming practices to consumers.
- Rebecca Comiskey from Eidsvold, supported by The Yulgilbar Foundation, will investigate modern technologies that can be incorporated into beef production systems to increase the rate of genetic gain and enhance key profit drivers such as fertility, market compliance and production efficiencies.
- Kerri-Ann Lamb from Killarney, supported by Hort Innovation, will investigate emerging trends, risks and opportunities in the fresh cut potato, sweet potato, onion and pumpkin market to determine what the industry should be doing now to prepare itself for the future.
- Alistair Corr from Moura, supported collectively by Australian Agricultural Company, Consolidated Pastoral Company, Elders, North Australian Pastoral Company and S. Kidman & Co, will investigate the effect that a range of wellbeing factors before, during and after transport can have on the production value of cattle.
- Tamara Uebergang from Miles, supported by the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Foundation, will investigate alternative fuel sources and energy solutions for Australia’s agricultural sector.
- Frank Miller from Rapid Creek, supported by ANZ and the Northern Territory Government, will investigate ways to realise the optimal value of Northern Australian timber investments.
- Johanna Tomlinson from Kalgan, supported by the CBH Group, will investigate global soil and production management strategies with a focus on how soil acidity has become a significant threat to Western Australia’s broadacre industry.
- Jake Newnham from Campania, supported by Woolworths, will investigate how to advance Australian cherry production, most notably post-harvest packaging and handling procedures.
- Clare Peltzer from Evandale, supported by Meat & Livestock Australia, will investigate how the agricultural sector can attract and retain the appropriate talent through better alignment with schools and ag-education programs.