THE importance of knowledge sharing and collaboration to address challenges faced by the farming industry was an important theme at a conference held last week. 

More than 30 scholars presented findings on a range of topics at the Nuffield Farming 'Super' Conference held at Sandy Park in Exeter, Devon, from November 14 until 16. Topcs included sustainabilty, regenerative agriculture, mental health and public perception of agriculture. 

Mike Vacher, director of the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, said they were 'delighted' to have the 'largest ever' group of scholars at the event. 

“The standard of this year’s presentations was extremely high with a number of our scholars providing forward-thinking and industry-leading recommendations based on their study findings," he said. 

"With nearly 400 delegates in attendance, the ‘Super’ conference certainly lived up to its name.”

Mike was awarded an Honorary Nuffield Scholarship in recognition of a decade of working with the trust. He will step down from his role at the end of 2023 and will be succeeded by Rupert Alers-Hankey.

Several other awards were presented during the conference, including: 

  • 2023 Steven and Gillian Bullock Award (awarded to to recipients for the first time) - Jen Hunter NSch 2014 and Robert Neill NSch 2013. This award recognises a Nuffield Scholar judged to have done the most with their Nuffield experience 10 years after completing their scholarship.
  • 2023 Frank Arden Leadership Award - Rob Burtonshaw NSch 2012. The winner of this award is deemed to have the potential to hold a wider leadership role within British agriculture and receives funding to take part in a Windsor Leadership Trust course.
  • John Stewart Shield (awarded to two scholars for the first time) - Anna Bowen NSch 2021 and Helen Wyman NSch 2022. This is for the best scholar presentation. 

AHDB was the main sponsor of this years' conference. 

Nicholas Saphir, chair of AHDB, added: ‘’We were delighted to partner with Nuffield by sponsoring this year’s conference. 

“It lived up to all of our expectations and reinforced the importance of collaboration, and sharing knowledge and experience as we face challenging times.’’

Next year's conference will be held in Belfast from November 19 until 21. ‘Belfast 2024’ is not just restricted to scholars and is open to anyone with an interest in attending. Ticketing and other information will be made available in 2024.