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Nuffield program has big impact on South Stirling (WA) farmer

For South Stirling farmer Reece Curwen, nothing could quite prepare him for the experiences a Nuffield Scholarship has presented him with this year.

A 2015 GRDC-supported scholarship winner, Reece is using the opportunity to investigate the dynamics between broadacre farming and the management systems used to maximise productivity.

So far he has participated in the organisation’s Global Focus Program (GFP), a group trip with fellow scholars, experiencing the best of global agriculture.

“Past scholars always mentioned how ‘life-changing’ the trip would be, but I never really understood how it could; so far I have spent seven weeks travelling during the GFP, and gathered invaluable knowledge and exposure of global agriculture which money couldn’t buy.

This time last year I was on the fence as to whether I would submit my application, seeding was a drag and the 16 weeks away from the farm and family seemed daunting.

Regardless, I went through the process and haven’t looked back – I would encourage all considering a Nuffield scholarship to apply now,” Reece says.

While he has yet to embark on his individual travel study, Reece has already learnt plenty from many farmers and entrepreneurs visited during the GFP in countries including Brazil, Mexico, USA, France and the UK.

“We got exposure to such a diverse range of businesses, and I learnt that the most successful businesses were those that had mastered their ability to vertically integrate, allowing them to skip the middle man and control their supply chain,” he explains.

Following the GFP, scholars then travel for a further 10 weeks by themselves, to drill down into a research topic of interest to them and of value to industry.

With his 2015 seeding program complete, Reece will start his individual travel soon, with his itinerary including Midwest USA and Canada.

Nuffield is taking applications for the 2016 scholarship program through until the 30th June 2015, for travel in 2016. A $30,000 bursary is provided to successful applicants to carry out their study over a two-year period.

There will be over 20 scholarships offered by Nuffield Australia, including one specifically for West Australian grain growers – head to www.nuffield.com.au for selection guidelines and to lodge your application before 30th June!

To keep up with the latest from our organisation, please follow us on Twitter @nuffieldaust and like Nuffield Australia on Facebook.

Reece Curwen and Nuffield WA chair Leon Ryan are available for interview – please contact David Cussons – 0404 853 827 or media@nuffield.com.au.

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