The latest crop of primary sector emerging leaders have been revealed with six 2017 Nuffield Scholars announced by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy at Parliament.
They are Mid-Canterbury rural journalist and artisan food producer Nadine Porter, Manawatu dairy farmer and farming advocate Mat Hocken and Oxford-based Rebecca Hyde, who works for Ballance Agri-Nutrients and has strong skills in environmental management and sustainable farming.
Joining them are Taranaki’s Jason Rolfe, who is an area manager for FMG, farmer and former winner of the Young Farmer of the Year contest David Kidd and South Canterbury dairy farmer Ryan O’Sullivan.
The six new scholars join more than 140 of New Zealand’s emerging agricultural leaders to have been awarded Nuffield Scholarships over more than 60 years.
The scholarships are one of the most respected and prestigious awards available in the primary sector and offer a life-changing opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest developments in a number of leading agricultural countries and an introduction to leaders and decision-makers not accessible to ordinary travellers.
Nuffield Scholars travel internationally for at least four months in their scholarship year (not necessarily consecutively) and participate in a Contemporary Scholars Conference with 60 Nuffield Scholars from around the world.
They will also attend a six-week Global Focus Programme with an organised itinerary through several countries with other scholars.
Finally, they will have their own individual study programme with a research report due at the end of their travels.
Topics this year are likely to include how we innovate in this country and how we can improve our innovation in the agriculture sector, how improved collaboration between industry and sectors can help achieve better environmental outcomes, improving/stabilising onfarm returns to attract more talent and reduce turnover in the primary industries, exploring how other countries are turning the protection of the environment into a value-added revenue stream and how irrigation schemes can deliver water, not just for agriculture or economic benefit, but for achieving environmental and social outcomes as well.
New Nuffield scholar Nadine Porter is a committed primary industry advocate and believes the agriculture sector is at an exciting crossroads. With a long career in agricultural journalism and artisan food ventures, Nadine is now working as communications manager for NZ Young Farmers.
New Nuffield scholar Mathew Hocken is carrying on the family legacy, farming the Manawatu property that has been in his family for over 125 years and acting as an advocate for farmers through his roles with Federated Farmers. He returned to the family property, Grassmere, in 2013 after a successful career studying law and politics and working overseas in consultancy roles covering areas like climate change and energy.
New Nuffield scholar Rebecca Hyde believes improved collaboration between sectors and industry can help achieve better environmental outcomes and she plans to research this topic further as part of her scholarship. Oxford-based Rebecca’s passion for the environment extends to her work with Ballance Agri-Nutrients, where she is South Island team leader of farm sustainability services.
Improving employment conditions and promoting the primary industries as an attractive career option are key to securing talented young people in the industry, new Nuffield scholar Jason Rolfe believes. Living in New Plymouth with his new wife Christina, Jason is the Taranaki area manager for FMG Insurance, a role he has held for the last year.
Third-generation farmer David Kidd, who won the Young Farmer of the Year contest in 2014 and has a strong background in the finance industry, is one of six new Nuffield scholars for 2017. David manages a 550ha beef finishing property at Shelly Beach, South Kaipara Head Peninsula. He and his wife Janine have spent the past four and a half years developing the property, gradually improving its carrying capacity and productivity. Before becoming a farmer, David spent six years working in the finance industry in New Zealand and Australia.
South Canterbury dairy farmer Ryan O’Sullivan has been named as a Nuffield scholar for 2017. Ryan is married to Tina and the couple have three children, aged from five to nine. The O’Sullivans are equity managers of a large-scale farming operation near Fairlie, South Canterbury, comprising a 1200-cow, irrigated dairy unit run in conjunction with 550ha of dairy support. Previously, Ryan attended Lincoln University then began a 10-year career in rural banking.
For further information and photographs please contact: Anne Hindson on 027 431 7575
Detailed news releases on each scholar are available on request.