With the backdrop of the historic and beautiful of the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in Des Moines, Iowa, a group of around 70 farmers from nine countries sit poised, ready to learn and think about the future of their operations and agriculture.
These farmers represent the 2019 class of the Nuffield International Farming Scholars program. Their headquarters for the week is Ames, Iowa, for their Contemporary Scholars Conference. For the week, they are being introduced to a network of farmers and ag industry professionals.
They also hear speakers to challenge their way of thinking and introduce them to new concepts. On Wednesday, while in Des Moines, speakers covered global agricultural trade, the future of aquaculture, public policy development, mega trends in agriculture and a first-hand perspective of hunger in Africa.
The Nuffield program, which started in 1947, selects a group of farmers and agribusiness professionals to travel and embark on an international journey to study key agricultural issues and develop a worldwide network.
The Nuffield scholars all came to the Midwest with big questions. During the next 18 months, they each have a topic to explore. These range from technology on the farm to pesticide drift to succession planning to climate change.
The Contemporary Scholars Conference is one of four components of the Nuffield program. The other items include:
- Global Focus Program: For six weeks, a small group of Nuffield Scholars travel the globe to investigate agricultural marketing, trade and environmental issues, all while experiencing the social and cultural aspects of each region. These trips have included visits to countries such as New Zealand, China, Brazil, Kenya, Ireland, France, India, Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, Israel, Canada, Germany, Poland and the U.S.
- Private Study: After the conference and focus program, Nuffield Scholars embark on a seven- to eight-week individual study program that enables them to travel to countries of choice on a study topic relevant to agriculture.
- Reporting: Nuffield Scholars submit a culminating report on their experience and study topic, which includes what they discovered, what this means for their investor and the ag industry, as well as how it will make a demonstrative change to their business. The written report is followed by a verbal presentation at an agricultural conference.
The group truly is a melting pot of viewpoints. They are open, inquisitive and quick to ask tough questions. This year’s class hails from the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Chile, Canada, France, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.
Learn about the 2018 Nuffield Farming Scholars, which are nearing the end of their program, and their study topics:
The 2020 application process will start this fall. To learn more, visit nuffieldinternational.org.