Five food industry winners earn coveted Nuffield Farming Scholarships

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Five members of the horticulture and produce sector, including three farmers, have been awarded a 2020 Nuffield Farming Scholarship.

The scholarships will be formally awarded at the Nuffield Farming Conference, held 27-29 November at Chesford Grange in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, after which the scholars will commence their 18-months of travel and study.

“UK agriculture is navigating through a period of uncertainty and change - environmentally, socially and politically,” says Mike Vacher, Nuffield Director. “Our 2020 scholars were selected from a talented and passionate group of applicants for their ability to lead positive change in their sectors, as well as their potential to inspire others to do the same over the course of their travels and beyond.

“The Scholarship offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to connect with and learn from the best of the international food and farming community. The knowledge and experiences they will bring back to the UK will be incredibly valuable as our industry moves forward, and this wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our sponsors.”

The winners include:

David Butler 2David Butler is a fruit farmer from Kent, with his own 65-hectare business that is incorporated into a larger, 300-hectare fruit business in which he serves as Fruit Manager. He will study his chosen topic, ‘Biodiversity for the Future of Fruit Farming’ and is generously supported by Thatchers Cider.

John CappalongaJohn Cappalonga owns and manages Gee Vee Enterprise, a large sweet pepper nursery located in Greater London. He will study his chosen topic, ‘How a Circular Economy can benefit UK Farmers and Growers’ and is supported by The Studley College Trust.


Nicola HarrisonNicola Harrison
, from Kent, is a Senior Scientist in Crop Production Systems (Horticulture) with AHDB. She will study her chosen topic, ‘Mapping out a green growth strategy for UK horticulture’ and is supported jointly by The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers and the Food Chain.

Fred LangdaleFred Langdale serves as the Vineyard Manager of Exton Park Vineyard, located in Hampshire. He will study his chosen topic, ‘Frost protection and post frost care in cool climate viticulture’ and is supported by the John Oldacre Foundation.

Lucy MacLennan 1Owner and Director of Food Technical Expert Ltd, Lucy MacLennan is technical strategy consultant specialising in fresh produce businesses and supply chains. She will study her chosen topic, ‘Do audits really improve microbiological food safety in fresh produce?’ and is supported by the Central Region Farmers Trust.

The 2020 Nuffield Farming Scholars are;

Aoife Behan (Edinburgh, Scotland)

  • Topic: ‘Policies for a transition to agroecology by 2045 (Scotland)’
  • Generously supported by The MacRobert Trust

David Butler (Kent, South East)

  • Topic: ‘Biodiversity for the Future of Fruit Farming’
  • Generously supported by Thatchers Cider

John Cappalonga (London, South East)

  • Topic: ‘How a Circular Economy can benefit UK Farmers and Growers’
  • Generously supported by The Studley College Trust

Lizzie Carr-Archer (Oxfordshire, Central)

  • Topic: ‘How seed breeding could reduce farm inputs in the future’
  • Generously supported jointly by The Worshipful Company of Farmers with Savills and the Central Region Farmers Trust

Nicola Harrison (Kent, South East)

  • Topic: ‘Mapping out a green growth strategy for UK horticulture’
  • Generously supported jointly by The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers and the Food Chain

Edward Jones (Anglesey, Wales)

  • Topic: ‘Are we investing in the right agriculture technology and innovation?’
  • Generously supported by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society

Fred Langdale (Hampshire, South East)

  • Topic: ‘Frost protection and post frost care in cool climate viticulture’
  • Generously supported by the John Oldacre Foundation

Jamie Lockhart (Norfolk, Anglia)

  • Topic: ‘Unlocking the potential of Data Use and Agri-tech within Agriculture
  • Generously supported by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association

Lucy MacLennan (Buckinghamshire, Central)

  • Topic: ‘Do audits really improve microbiological food safety in fresh produce?’
  • Generously supported by the Central Region Farmers Trust

Teresa Meadows (Essex, Anglia)

  • Topic: ‘Challenging the Conventional: Behaviour change methods for the adoption of IPM’
  • Generously supported by the John Oldacre Foundation

Emma Patterson Taylor (Edinburgh, Scotland)

  • Topic: ‘The position of farming in the public consciousness’
  • Generously supported by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland

Angus Russell (Warwickshire, West Midlands)         

  • Topic: ‘The Family Farm's Sustainability and Profitability Through Joint Venture Farming’
  • Generously supported by the John Oldacre Foundation

Hannah Senior (Yorkshire, Northern)

  • Topic: ‘Accelerating AgriTech Entrepreneurs’
  • Generously supported by The Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust (a Clyde Higgs Scholarship)

Samuel Smith (Dorset, South West)

  • Topic: ‘Regenerative agriculture: a shared ambition for the future of farming?’
  • Generously supported by McDonald’s UK & Ireland

Gary Spence (Kilkeel, Northern Ireland)

  • Topic: ‘I can’t believe it’s not beef!’
  • Generously supported by the Thomas Henry Foundation

Samuel Steggles (Norfolk, Anglia)

  • Topic: ‘The journey to maturity - Navigating sustainable food business growth’
  • Generously supported by NFU Mutual Charitable Trust

James Stobart (Cumbria, Northern)

  • Topic: ‘Effective monitoring methods that measure ecological outcomes in grazing systems’
  • Generously supported jointly by The Company of Merchants of the Staple of England and AHDB

Alastair Trickett (Yorkshire, Northern)

  • Topic: ‘Nuance and Diversity. Mixed Farming for the Future Farmer’
  • Generously supported jointly by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and National Trust

Arthur Soames (Buckinghamshire, Central)

  • Topic: ‘Harnessing AI to drive efficiencies in the Fresh Produce industry’
  • Generously supported by The Richard Lawes Foundation.

About Nuffield Farming Scholars:

  • The first Nuffield Farming Scholarships were awarded in 1947 to Jane Bennett-Evans, Edward Stokes and John Rowsell. 
  • Nuffield Scholars have travelled to every continent except Antarctica.
  • As well as having huge impact on their home business or role Nuffield Scholars have also been responsible for many industry-changing innovations and discoveries, including:
    • Advocacy of growing oilseed rape – John Rowsell (NSch 1947)
    • Foundation of the UK Broiler industry – Geoffrey Sykes (NSch 1952)
    • Production of Shropshire Blue cheese – Jill Hutchinson-Smith (NSch 1952)
    • Open Farm Sunday – Ian Pigott OBE (NSch 2002)
  • Nuffield Farming member countries span the globe, with established programs in Australia, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Kenya, and Zimbabwe; Associate countries also include Brazil, USA, South Africa, and Southern Caucausus (Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan).

The Scholarship

  • On average, 20 Nuffield Farming Scholarships are awarded in the UK each year, totalling over 980 UK scholarships awarded to date.
  • There are 10 UK regional groups and 12 study groups for subjects as diverse as soils and export.
  • Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust is a registered charity (Reg. Charity No. 1098519).
  • Nuffield Scholarships are only made possible by the generous support of sponsors from across agriculture and the food industry. NFST work with over 100 sponsors to develop individuals who will become tomorrow’s leaders and inspire change in our industry.
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