THREE PROMISING postgraduate agricultural students from across the UK have been selected to receive a ‘Centenary Award’ bursary from the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

Launched by the rural insurer to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2010, the annual award scheme provides bursaries of up to 75% of course fees for selected postgraduate students in agriculture. To date, 46 young people have received help through the award to further their education.

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The three selected students for 2021 are:

• Megan Powell from Builth Wells: MSc Food Security and Development, University of Reading;

• Daniel Olatokun from Yorkshire: MRes Plant and Microbial Biology, University of Sheffield;

• Florence Turley from Newtown: MSc Livestock Health and Production, Royal Veterinary College, University of London.

Ms Powell explained how the award will help her to achieve her ambitions: “It is a real honour to have NFU Mutual supporting my postgraduate studies. Through the course, I hope to gain the ability to understand strategic decision making, opinion forming and operational management for the development of sustainable agriculture and food supply systems. I want to act as an advocate for the industry in the UK and help lead it to a positive and prosperous future.”

Mr Olatokun's course is a research-focused Masters which will provide significant laboratory experience and support his career aspirations in plant science. He commented: “My research project will be on improving efficiency traits in economically significant crops. There is significant scope, and a need, for crop improvement in the UK, to help manage the impacts of climate change and support future food security. I hope to become a future leader in this sector.”

Ms Turley’s postgraduate studies, which will commence in February next year, will enable a deeper understanding and appreciation of animal health and disease, in particular disease-causing agents and how they may affect livestock. Florence, who is a member of Shropshire Holstein Young Breeders Club, has a real passion for UK dairy farming and aspires to make a difference to the industry in her future career.

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She commented: “My postgraduate course will provide me with the confidence and ability to appraise animal production efficiency and performance in our farming systems. The focus on animal health and welfare is going to continue to develop over the coming years especially following concerns of zoonotic risks, antibiotic resistance and agricultural sustainability, and there is a requirement for experts in this field who are not only academically able but who also have sound infield experience to be able to support farmers with practical advice.”

Announcing the award’s recipients for 2021, NFU Mutual chairman Jim McLaren said: “Our aim for the Centenary Award is to support promising individuals who are passionate about making a difference to the future of UK farming. We are delighted to be supporting Megan, Daniel and Florence with our Centenary Award bursaries, and wish them all the very best for their studies.”

Centenary Award bursaries will again be available in 2022. Applications for the award next year will be invited from the start of January, and information about the scheme can be found on the NFU Mutual website:

In the meantime, prospective post graduate agricultural students who would like to find out more about the award can contact