COVID isn't going to stop the next round of Nuffield Australia Scholarships with applications now open for up to 20 successful recipients.
Each scholarship is worth $30,000 and allows selected producers to see leading and innovative businesses across the globe to find ideas and forge connections that can improve value chains.
Nuffield Australia CEO and 2013 Nuffield Scholar Jodie Redcliffe said bringing home the new best practices, ideas and resources helped Australian agriculture navigate the turbulent global marketplace and seize opportunities.
"Building capacity in agriculture, horticulture and fishing is more important as ever as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and trade tensions," Ms Redcliffe said.
"There has never been a better time to research how the world has changed and how agricultural sectors can adapt to complex food supply chains, trade restrictions and changing consumer behaviour going forward."
Nuffield Scholarships are open to farmers, fishers and those in associated industries aged between 28-45. No tertiary education qualifications are required.
Each scholar receives a $30,000 bursary to spend 14 weeks of travel over 18 months to study a topic important to the industry.
Ms Redcliffe said this year's program had been especially tailored to allow recipients to navigate the global uncertainty and make the most of being part of the world's most influential agricultural network.
"We're offering greater access to online learning than ever before including virtual connections to the global alumni network - 485-strong in Australia and 1850 worldwide - as well as other agribusiness leaders," she said.
"If COVID-19 travel restrictions continue we will reschedule or roll over to extended timelines for the travel component."
Western Australian pasture seed producer and beef farmer Robert Bell is a current 2021 scholar and said the virtual tours of farms and other agribusinesses had been "eye-opening".
"Nuffield has a level of access that no other scholarship program has. It has a huge global network of like-minded farmers and agribusiness operators who have welcomed us into their businesses and been happy to answer our questions," he said.
"And the virtual tours have been scheduled at the start or the end of the day, so it's just been brilliant to fit it around existing commitments."
Mr Bell, from The Plains, is looking forward to travelling when restrictions ease but said the period of virtual learning had helped him make the most of the experience so far.
2019 Scholar and western Queensland beef producer Bec Burnham, Augathella, said her Nuffield Scholarship had been a great personal and professional development opportunity.
Ms Burnham was able to travel to the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, New Zealand and Europe in 2019 and early-2020 before international travel was restricted.
"The Nuffield Scholarship's point of difference is that you learn not only from within your agricultural interest but also the opportunity to learn across-industries and countries," she said.
"To be able to connect to both the extensive Nuffield Australia and international alumni is priceless."
Applications close on Friday August 6, 2021. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed during September and October. Successful recipients of the 2022 Nuffield Scholarships will be awarded at the Nuffield Australia National Conference to in Tamworth on October 11, 2021.
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