THE NUFFIELD Farming Scholarships Trust has announced the appointment of the 2022 Nuffield Farming Scholars, two of whom work in Scotland's farming sector.

  • Vic Ballantyne farms alongside her husband on their tenanted livestock farm in the North Highlands, Scotland. Focused on maximising profit from pasture using rotational grazing and progressive genetics, Vic is always keen to trial new ideas as they build resilience into their business while also supporting biodiversity and reducing their carbon footprint. She believes there still remains untapped potential in Highland livestock farming and will use her Scholarship to explore how to unlock this.
  • Alisdair Cook is a dairy herd manager for W M Forrest, milking 1550 cows in an intensive flying herd system on 1200 acres in southwest Scotland. Having experienced some challenges associated with large-scale dairy, such as attracting and retaining staff, he will study the use and development of robotics in the dairy industry focusing on day-to-day activities such as milking, manure management and feeding.

The entire group of 18 Scholars, who come from across UK farming and rural industries, will seek guidance from industry leaders, experts and pioneers as they undertake their studies.

“This year’s intake represents a significant change in direction agriculture is and must take to ensure a sustainable farming future,” said Nuffield Farming Director Mike Vacher. “Many of our 2022 scholar’s topics are centred around reducing inputs, regenerative principles, improving efficiency, and mitigating climate change in order to help achieve Net Zero.

“The future of agriculture needs forward-thinking and innovative leaders," said Mr Vacher. "This year’s scholars have been selected for demonstrating these traits and the clear passion they possess for their chosen topics. Solutions these scholars have chosen to investigate span across the breadth of the industry and include, arable, livestock, feed, forage and horticulture. What they find will help shape the future of UK agriculture."

The full list of Scholars and topics is as follows:

Vic Ballantyne – Brora, Scotland

• ‘Too fat? A study on female livestock in areas with extreme seasonal variability’

• Supported jointly by The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland & Worshipful Company of Farmers with Savills.

Olivia Champion – Torquay, Devon

• ‘Circular economy principles for the sustainable farming of nutritious insects feed and food ingredients’

• Supported by The Richard Lawes Foundation.

Oliver Chedgey – Basingstoke, Hampshire

• ‘Living the farming ladder’

• Supported by The Trehane Trust.

Alisdair Cook – Lockerbie, Scotland

• 'Utilisation and impact of robotics on large-scale dairy farms’

• Supported by The MacRobert Trust.

Elizabeth Cresswell – Farringdon, Oxfordshire

• ‘Cattle health schemes: What does success look like?’

• Supported by The Central Region Farmers Trust.

Kendra Hall – Salisbury, Wiltshire

• ‘Building trust in British farming through increased transparency of on-farm livestock production’

• Supported jointly by Dartington Cattle Breeding Trust & AHDB.

Rob Havard – Droitwich, Worcestershire

• ‘Evaluation of beef cattle selection methods for profitability in grass-fed production systems’

• Supported by Worshipful Company of Butchers.

Benjamin Hunt – Poole, Dorset

• ‘How to create a local soil carbon market between farmers and utility companies’

• Supported by John Oldacre Foundation.

Miles Middleton – Leyburn, Yorkshire

• ‘Working towards Net Zero in the dairy sector: Trade-offs, opportunity costs and alternative allocations for scarce resources’

• Supported by Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Emily Padfield – Southam, Warwickshire

• ‘The mob-grazed flerd: Improving soil, biodiversity and farm incomes’

• Supported by Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust (a Clyde Higgs Scholarship).

James Pick – Driffield, Yorkshire

• ‘Can maincrop potatoes be grown in a regenerative system?’

• Supported by Alan and Anne Becket Award.

Toby Simpson – Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

• ‘Cover and catch cropping opportunities in UK arable agriculture’

• Supported by McDonald’s UK & Ireland.

Christopher Taylor – Usk, Wales

• ‘Do regenerative farming practices pave the way for UK Agriculture to meet Net Zero?’

• Supported by McDonald’s UK & Ireland.

David Throup – York, Yorkshire

• ‘Poultry manure: A study into the storage, bi-product capabilities & the impact on environmental sustainability’

• Supported by BEMB Trust

Miranda Timmerman – Abergavenny, Wales

• ‘Investigating sustainable methods to improve gastrointestinal parasite management - reducing anthelmintic resistance in the UK sheep flock’

• Supported jointly by Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, Worshipful Company of Farmers with Savills & Young Nuffield Award

James Wright – Kington, Herefordshire

•‘Biomass heat into cooling within intensive poultry production – mitigating climate change’

• Supported by NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

Helen Wyman – York, Yorkshire

• ‘Bioenergy crops: An opportunity to address the triple bottom line’

• Supported by John Oldacre Foundation.

Thomas Young – Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

• ‘Sustainable water use: Opportunities for agriculture based on cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing’

• Supported by Worshipful Company of Gardeners.