Nuffield Scholars to focus on farm diversification opportunities

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The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust has announced the appointment of their largest cohort ever with 23 new Scholars for 2024, two of whom will focus on farm diversification for their studies. 


dr natalie hepburnDr Natalie Hepburn runs a smallholding near Cardiff, specialising in producing soaps, shaving products, and skin care products from goats’ milk. With many farms facing pressure to diversify in order to remain viable, Natalie would like to explore existing successful models. She aims to understand the key decisions and considerations required, while also exploring how the farm can maintain control of the supply chain. She will look at farms that have created a product or brand for diversification purposes, to learn about the advantages and disadvantages this has had on the original business. She hopes to spend most of her time travelling within the UK looking at farm diversifications as well as USA.


From farm to fork, from barn to brand; the models, advantages, and disadvantages of farm diversification.

Generously supported by NFU Mutual Charitable Trust


david tavenorDavid Tavernor runs his own business Fly2Feed, producing black soldier flies to create protein feed for chickens and fertiliser using food waste. Having started his business following a trip to Mexico, he is looking forward to travelling more during his Scholarship to expand his knowledge of insect farming. David hopes to understand how UK farmers could incorporate black soldier fly production into their existing operation to produce their own feed or fertiliser and add value to farm by-products. He hopes to visit Africa, Europe, and North America.


Practically and profitably diversifying your farm business with black soldier fly production.

Generously supported by Alan and Anne Beckett


Over the course of their Scholarships, they will travel internationally to gain an in-depth understanding of their study topic from global experts.


“Following a substantial number of exceptional applicants this year, we are delighted to announce our biggest ever cohort of Nuffield Farming Scholars,” says Mike Vacher, Director of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust. “Our 2024 Scholars have already displayed a clear passion for their chosen topics, and I have no doubt that they have the potential to become leaders who shape the future of agriculture.


“We are looking forward to introducing our 2024 cohort to the Nuffield Farming family at this year’s ‘Super Conference’ in Exeter. This will be the pinnacle of what is already set to be a fantastic event, with over 30 Scholars presenting their study findings.”


The 2024 Nuffield Farming Scholars are;


Dr Saba Amir (Craven Arms, Shropshire)

  • Can calf with cow dairy farming become the future of the dairy industry?
  • Generously supported by the John Oldacre Foundation


Laura Awdry (Truro, Cornwall)

  • Every Calf has a value, but is every calf equal? Sustainable and profitable dairy beef production in the UK
  • Generously supported by the Dartington Cattle Breeding Trust


Wallace Currie (Dumfries, Scotland)

  • Let's get Agricultural Education into the Tramlines
  • Generously supported by The MacRobert Trust


Lucy George (Cardiff, Wales)

  • Tea cultivation within agroecology - the development of a high value opportunity for UK farms.
  • Generously supported by Royal Welsh Agricultural Society


Jock Gibson (Dallas, Scotland)

  • Enhanced meat eating quality from 100% pasture and forage systems
  • Generously supported jointly by Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland and Worshipful Company of Butchers


Sophie Gregory (Thornecombe, Dorset)

  • What is the future for organic farming?
  • Generously supported by The Trehane Trust


Liz Haines (Stafford, Staffordshire)

  • Neurodiversity in Agriculture
  • Generously supported by McDonald's UK & Ireland


Dr Natalie Hepburn (Cardiff, Wales)

  • From farm to fork, from barn to brand; the models, advantages, and disadvantages of farm diversification
  • Generously supported by NFU Mutual Charitable Trust


Polly Hilton (Exeter, Devon)

  • Elevating the value of and respect for Fine Cider to safeguard the future of orchards
  • Generously supported jointly by Worshipful Company of Fruiterers and Three Counties Agricultural Society


Dan Jones (Conwy, Wales)

  • Upland sheep farming, finding the balance: production, conservation and climate change
  • Generously supported by the John Oldacre Foundation


Hattie McFadzean (London) 

  • Enhancing the resilience of the UK Dairy Sector: how do we prepare for increasingly volatile climate conditions?
  • Generously supported by AHDB


Gwion Parry (Gwynedd, Wales)

  • The disconnection between eating quality in the UK beef industry - from farm to fork.
  • Generously supported by Royal Welsh Agricultural Society


Ifan Roberts (Leicester, Leicestershire)

  • Inspiring the next generation of dairy entrepreneurs
  • Generously supported by The Trehane Trust


Tom Scrope (Great Ayton, Yorkshire)

  • Growing Together: Exploring New Ways of Farmer Knowledge Exchange to Secure Stronger Soils
  • Generously supported by Yorkshire Agricultural Society


Dan Smith (Monmouth, Gloucestershire)

  • Generation Regeneration. We need you.
  • Generously supported by McDonald's UK & Ireland


Jamie Stokes (Warboys, Cambridgeshire)

  • Doing more with less - Learning from the small to teach the big
  • Generously supported by the Worshipful Company of Farmers with Savills


Amy Stoner (Uppingham, Rutland)

  • UK Food Security: A forward-thinking approach to ensure resilient fresh produce supply chains
  • Generously supported by The Food Chain Scholarship


David Tavernor (Market Drayton, Shropshire)

  • Practically and profitably diversifying your farm business with black soldier fly production
  • Generously supported by Alan and Anne Beckett


Sam Watson-Jones (London)

  • Per plant farming, artificial intelligence and the future of arable farming
  • Generously supported by Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust (a Clyde Higgs Scholarship)


Cormac White (Frome, Somerset)

  • Developing a sustainable grazing-based small ruminant dairy system suitable for New Entrants with alternative supply chain models
  • Generously supported by The Thomas Henry Foundation


Dr Annie Williams (Shrewsbury, Shropshire)

  • Minerals for ruminants - Are we getting it right?
  • Generously supported by The Richard Lawes Foundation


Harold Winslet (Bristol)

  • For peat’s sake! Do we need a new approach to peatland agriculture?
  • Generously supported by Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association


Rachel Yarrow (Oxford, Oxfordshire)

  • The dream British Cheese Goat: could a pasture based dairy goat system ever work at scale in the UK?
  • Generously supported by Central Region Farmers Trust

Applications for 2025 Nuffield Farming Scholarships will open on Wednesday, 24th January 2024.


Tickets for the 2023 Nuffield Farming Conference in Exeter are now available to purchase. The conference is open to all and a connection to Nuffield Farming is not required. Ticketing and further details can be found on the Nuffield Farming website.

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