Archie Griffin’s passport book would be the envy of any jet-setter. In the past two years, he’s visited farms in 14 countries — all with the goal of bringing new ideas to his Washington, N.C., tobacco, corn, soybeans and wheat operation.
Griffin is a 2018 Nuffield Scholar, which is an international program that started in 1947. Each class of up to 85 farmers and ag professionals embarks on an international journey to study key issues and develop a worldwide network.
With his scholarship, Griffin studied how farms can find success if their primary products are facing declining consumption, value and profit margins.
“It’s not until you step outside your comfort zone that you truly begin to grow, change and do things differently,” he says.
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“Building a global network at this at this moment is just critical,” says Jean Lonie, Nuffield USA vice president. “It sparks a desire in you to keep growing and to find the time to get off the farm and engage elsewhere, which is just as important. It builds confidence and capacity — personally and professionally.”
The takeaways from the experience have a waterfall effect on the industry, Lonie adds. “It builds resiliency in the individuals, which builds resiliency in communities, which builds the resiliency in the food system.”
Valued at $60,000 (covered by the program), a Nuffield Scholarship includes 16 weeks of group and personal travel over the span of 18 months. Applicants must be between the ages of 28 and 45 (other ages will be considered). Applications are due Sept. 30, 2019. Visit nuffieldinternational.org.
Contemporary Scholars Conference: A weeklong program in March for newly selected scholars (for 2020, it will be held in Australia). Speakers share insights on trade and policy issues. Scholars develop skills in practical and political leadership.
Global Focus Program: For six to seven weeks, scholars travel the world to study marketing, trade and environmental issues, while experiencing the social and cultural aspects of each region.
Private Study: After the conference and focus program, scholars embark on a seven-to-eight-week individual program. They visit countries of choice to study a topic relevant to ag.
Reporting: Scholars write a report about what they discovered, what it means for their investor and ag, and how it will make demonstrative changes. They then give a presentation at an ag conference.
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