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Emily Rigby. 2016 Scholarship winner

Emily Rigby. 2016 Scholarship winner

Emily Rigby, from Mapleton in Queensland, has received a Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarship supported by Horticulture Innovation Australia and the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation.

She will investigate greenhouse production systems specifically for sub-tropical climates, with a focus on low and high-technology protected cropping.

Emily is the research manager for Cedar Hill Flowers & Foliage, one of Australia’s biggest exporters of cut foliage and flowers. The company produces and processes products for floriculture markets in eastern and western Europe, the Americas, New Zealand, Asia, Japan and China. It was the world’s first successful enterprise to propagate and artificially cultivate umbrella fern and won the 2014 Australian Flower Industry Sustainable Production Award.

Emily manages the company’s umbrella fern plantations on the Sunshine Coast and in the Mary Valley and has provided valuable research into the successful domestication of this Australian native floriculture crop. Her efforts in this endeavour contributed to her selection as a Queensland Finalist of the National RIRDC Rural Women’s Award this year.

Through her Nuffield Scholarship, Emily plans to look at ways of improving greenhouse production and management systems for sub-tropical climates using innovative protected cropping practices.

She says the aim is to achieve better production efficiencies, yields and sustainability.

“I also want to focus on the potential for under-utilised plant species, such as Australian natives, bush foods, niche plants, high-value plants and new ornamentals,” she says.

“Arming ourselves with the best, latest knowledge about these species and the protected cropping systems we could use for their production might help Australia’s producers adapt and innovate to meet the ongoing challenges of a dynamic climate and dynamic markets.”

Emily plans to undertake her scholarship research in China, Israel, Kenya, Spain, Turkey and the United States.

Horticulture Innovation Australia and the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation are pleased to support Emily Rigby as a 2016 Nuffield Scholar.

The organisation said it’s a valuable investment in the growth of agriculture in Queensland alongside Nuffield Australia, which is at the forefront of developing future industry leaders.

Nuffield Australia chief executive officer Jim Geltch said Nuffield now boasted more than 350 scholars in Australia who, through their scholarship global study tours, had significant insight into global agricultural production systems.

“We are building capacity for the nation’s food and fibre industries to be world leaders in the adoption of technology, best practice and innovation,” he said.

“Nuffield Scholars are influencing industry and community changes, resulting in agricultural productivity increases and economic development for rural communities.

“The Nuffield experience adds new dimensions to the way scholars think about the economic, environmental and social aspects of global food production.

“Engagement and investment in capacity building and talent development in agriculture is critical as the global population continues to escalate and the amount of land available for food production shrinks.”

Scholars undertake a 16-week program of group and individual travel.

Global Focus Program tours will visit several countries in March/April or June/July 2016, including New Zealand, Brazil, the United States of America, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya, Eastern Europe, Singapore, India, Qatar, Turkey, France, the Philippines, China, Canada or Ireland (itineraries will vary between groups).

Applications for Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships open in April each year to Australian primary producers and managers who seek to research a topic important to them and to Australian agriculture.

Emily is available to talk about her planned travel and can be contacted on:

Phone: 0400 008 161 Email: emilyr@cedarhill.com.au 

Media contact:
Justine Mackay, Cox Inall Communications
P: 0435 325 954; E: justinem@coxinall.com.au

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