The past couple of months have seen extreme rain, with many areas of autumn drilling looking almost impossible and growers struggling to harvest potato and maize crops.
Along with the barrage of negativity being thrown at the farming industry, there is a temptation to withdraw and batten down the hatches.
In reality, there couldn’t be a better time to surround yourself with positive thinking farmers, providing innovations and solutions to some of farming’s challenges – all of which were the subject of debate at last week’s Nuffield Farming Conference.
The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust awards approximately 20 individuals (called Scholars) each year with the opportunity to research topics of interest in food or farming.
A bursary of approximately £7,000 is given towards travel and subsistence expenses. Scholars can travel anywhere in the world for a period of no less than eight weeks to further their knowledge and understanding of their chosen study topic.
On return from their travels, a report is published and Scholars present their findings at the Annual Nuffield Farming Conference. Scholars are also expected to use all other means at their disposal, to spread the knowledge they have gained within the industry and beyond.
The Yorkshire Agricultural Society has sponsored Scholars for almost 40 years. The topics have been many and varied but the common thread is that YAS Scholars have experienced opportunities that have benefitted their careers, their businesses and the industry.
The scholarship is one of many personal development opportunities offered to Future Farmers of Yorkshire members, which also includes the Worshipful Company of Farmers Challenge of Rural Leadership Course, the NFU Conference, the Oxford Farming Conference and Oxford Real Farming Conference.
The Future Farmers of Yorkshire group was well represented at this year’s Nuffield conference, by Bishopton Farm vet, Neil Eastham who studied the question ‘How can UK dairy farmers use genomics to breed a better herd?’ and Angela Kirkwood, East Yorkshire pig producer, who explored ‘How to Grow the British Pig Industry’.
The presentations were inspirational and uplifting and their reports can be downloaded here.
Many working farmers who have benefitted from scholarships admit that, at first, they thought ‘Nuffield wasn’t for me’ but later acknowledged that the opportunities to broaden their horizons have been life-changing.
Similarly, others felt that they were too busy to take on a Nuffield scholarship, but the reality is that if you wait for the right time, it’ll probably never happen. Advice from Scholars is to press on, you won’t regret it!
The award gives a unique opportunity to stand back from your day-to-day occupation and to research a subject of interest to you. There is no requirement for academic qualifications, but applicants must demonstrate a passion for the industry.
Applicants must be aged between 22 and 45 years. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more firstname.lastname@example.org – applications for 2020 open in January!