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Jan Vydra. 2016 Scholarship winner

Jan Vydra. 2016 Scholarship winner

Jan Vydra, from Melbourne in Victoria, has received a Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarship supported by The William Buckland Foundation.

He will investigate innovative ways to boost the yields and sustainability of fresh herb and salad leaf production.

Awarded the 2011 Australian Young Farmer of the Year, Jan is a co-founder and executive director of Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs (AFLH) at Clyde, 50-kilometres south east of Melbourne.

This is one of the country’s leading producers of fresh leaf greens, with niche markets focusing on culinary herbs, micro-greens, edible flowers and novelty cresses.

Under Jan’s leadership, AFLH has expanded and diversified from producing 2000-bunches of basil each week in the late 2000s to current peak spring production of 160-180,000 units of product per week and employment of 40 full time equivalent staff.

“From the inception of the company, my focus has always been on understanding and developing sustainable and efficient ways to grow fresh produce,” Jan said.

“Since 2008, we have dramatically cut our water, land and labour use but I know there are opportunities to be even more efficient and sustainable.”

Jan said through his scholarship he will research new technologies to boost production per square metre and the implementation of statistical farming systems for greater accuracy of performance measurement.

He plans to travel to Canada, Japan, The Netherlands, Turkey and the United States to investigate greenhouse operations, urban agriculture, vertical cropping, seed growing and natural growing mediums.

The William Buckland Foundation is pleased to support Jan Vydra as a 2016 Nuffield Scholar.

The organisation said it’s a valuable investment in the growth of agriculture in Victoria 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.

Jan is available to talk about his planned travel and can be contacted on:

Phone: 0425 857 162 Email:

Media contact:
Justine Mackay, Cox Inall Communications
P: 0435 325 954; E:

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