NuffBlog 1: Nuff’ said – what is this Nuffield thing all about?

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I’m currently sitting on a plane racing towards Manila, The Phillipines for the second leg of our Nuffield GFP. I’m overdue to write about my Nuffield journey so far. So here goes – this article is purely based on my own observations and experiences, and I will kick off with a background explanation of what “is” a Nuffield Scholarship.

The Nuffield Scholarship program has four components:

The Contemporary Scholars Conference (CSC) – this year in Brazil;
The Global Focus Program (GFP);
Personal travel either alone or with family; and
Membership to the Nuffield Alumni and the fellowship of scholars generated since the 1950’s.

This article deals with the GFP.

The GFP is a 6 week tour around the world looking at all aspects of the Agricultural and Agribusiness sector, including:

research and development;
production on farm;
logistics from farm gate to processing;
manufacturing of raw farm commodity to finished product;
marketing and consumer demands for food, fibre, oils and plant based pharmaceuticals;
the interplay of finance, currency, markets and insurance;
the people who are involved in the aforementioned, including owners (family-scale to corporate), employees, and stakeholders; and
subtly, the unspoken impact of government regulation (either too much or too little), cultural quirks, historical legacies and bias (including ethnicity, race and gender) and the time-old tension of who gets what % of the Trillion dollar global Agriculture/Agribusiness sector.

Nuffield Australia developed the GFP as a way for Australian farmers to gather perspective on the Australian agricultural sector in global terms. In recent times, Nuffield Australia has invited other Nuffield countries (such as NZ, UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, Netherlands, South Africa and Brazil) to have their scholars join the Australians on tour.

Each year there are 6 GFP’s. Chile, Brazil, Africa, Japan, China and India. The first 3 leave after the CSC in March, the last 3 commenced their GFP on 8 May 2017 from Singapore. There are about 9-12 scholars on each tour plus an in country host or translator.

I was lucky to join the China GFP. During our 6 weeks, we will visit Singapore, The Phillipines, Hong Kong, China, Germany, Netherlands, UK and the USA. Instead of returning to Australia when the China GFP finishes on 22 June, I will stay in California and then be joined by my husband Brendan and 14 month old son Lachlan. We will then spend time in the USA and Canada.

Our GFP has 2 Aussies, Councillor Dan Meade (Grazing and Dairy in Victoria) and myself. Kiwi Jason Rolfe works in farm insurance by day and is part of a family dairy farm as time permits. South African Thato Moagi is a mixed farmer, trainer and consultant. Nicole MacKellar is a high-flying marketing manager and involved in her familys’ mixed farm business in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Georgie Crayford is a senior policy advisor for the UK Pig Association and together with UK Dairy specialist Iwan Vaughan represent the UK contingent. Dairyman and grazier Eamon Sheehan brings hilarious Irish relief, whilst super-smart Dutch student Rick Batts brings youthful vigour.

Together our group of 9 scholars will attend 67 presentations and meetings, plus farm visits and see a few cultural/tourist spots along the way. There are 3 ‘rest’ days built into the 6 week program – one of which is spent flying 18 hours – so it will be a marathon journey.IMG_1494

Nuffield Australia undertook briefings this week in Singapore on psychometric testing for team roles (Belbin) and stress testing to assess if any member of the team has high levels of stress due to external pressures. Our group were encouraged to develop ‘ground rules’ and strategies on how 9 complete strangers can happily co-exist together for 6 weeks with limited sleep, high-level presentations whilst writing your 10,000 word report which we are encouraged to type up whilst travelling.

My report is due 8 January 2018. Danny and I with the other 20 Australian Scholars present a 20 minute presentation in Melbourne in September 2018 on our report. This presentation is recorded and published through the various social media platforms.

In my next article, I will explore why a country lawyer with a young baby decided to apply for a Nuffield Scholarship.

4 thoughts on “NuffBlog 1: Nuff’ said – what is this Nuffield thing all about?

  1. I thought i had a good understanding of the Nuffy Thingy!! But that was very helpful. How lucky you all are. Hope you all get important restorative down time to finish the marathon smiling. Love Mum ❤️

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