Nuffield Farming’s first ever ‘Next-Gen Scholars’ announced

The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust has announced the appointment of its first ever Next-Gen Scholars.

Run as a pilot scheme for 2024, the Next-Gen Scholarship forms part of the Trust’s initiative to develop young talent and lead positive change in agriculture. Open to those aged 18-24, the programme was open to applicants in Northern Ireland with a demonstratable interest in the dairy industry and is due to be made available to all sectors across the UK next year. The scholarships have been funded by the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust and the Thomas Henry Foundation.

This year, the Next-Gen Scholars will visit a variety of dairy businesses, including Evolution Farming in Leicestershire, Grosvenor Farms in Cheshire, and Lye Cross Farm in Somerset, as well as extensive grazing and organic systems. They will also have the opportunity to attend the Highland Show and learn from industry experts on a range of topics from succession planning to soil health.

The 2024 Nuffield Farming Next-Gen Scholars are:

Bronagh Dempster
Despite not being raised on a farm, agriculture has always been a passion for Co Down-based Bronagh. Beginning as a volunteer, she soon gained paid employment on a local dairy farm before completing a degree in Agricultural Technology at Queen’s University, Belfast. She is looking forward to beginning a new role at Leprino Foods where she will be delivering sustainability projects across the dairy farming supply base, and she is excited to learn about a variety of dairy production systems during her Next-Gen Scholarship.

Ewan McCracken
Having completed a degree in Dairy Business at University College Dublin, Ewan returned to his family farm in Co Down. The spring calving herd has 240 New Zealand Friesian Jersey crosses, and Ewan is involved in milking, general animal husbandry, grass management and nutrient management. Over the next five years, he hopes to take on more responsibilities on the home farm and become more involved in industry organisations. Ewan looks forward to visiting a variety of farms and understanding more about the dairy sector’s role in national and international markets.

Kirsten Henry
Kirsten works on her family’s Co Tyrone farm while also studying Animal Science at Harper Adams University. She was a finalist in the RABDF Dairy Student of the Year 2023 and recently completed a placement year with Genus ABS. This fuelled her passion for bovine genetics which she hopes to pursue as a career while also maintaining an active role on the home farm. As a Next-Gen Scholar, she wants to delve into various aspects of the dairy industry and gain insights into innovative practices, new technology, and sustainable farming.

“Following substantial interest in the pilot programme, we are delighted to announce our very first Nuffield Farming Next-Gen Scholars,” says Wyn Owen, Chairman of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust. “The three recipients displayed a clear desire to build a career in the dairy industry, and we will support them by connecting them to our substantial network of dairy farmers and Scholars.

“This summer our Next-Gen Scholars will embark on an exciting programme designed to develop their skills and networks within the industry. Their Scholarships will culminate at the 2024 Nuffield Farming Conference in Belfast where they will present their journey and experiences to delegates.”

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