Nuffield Scholars 2019 Announced


Five prestigious Nuffield New Zealand Scholarships have been announced for 2019. The scholars were announced on Tuesday 6th November at parliament by Hon Damien O’Connor Minister of Agriculture and Minister for Biosecurity, Food Safety, and Rural Communities.

About Nuffield Farming Scholarships
Nuffield Farming Scholarships have been offered to innovative New Zealand farmers since 1950. They were first established in the UK by Lord Nuffield to create an opportunity for farmers to explore best agricultural practice around the world and facilitate innovation in the sector through travel and networking.

The programme has since grown both in New Zealand and internationally, building up a 150-strong network of scholars nationally, and more than 1,600 alumni internationally.

The 2019 Nuffield NZ Scholars are:
Ben Hancock

Ben was raised on his family’s Wairarapa hill country sheep and beef cattle farm. He is now based in Wellington working for Beef + Lamb New Zealand as a senior analyst, still near the farm and often back home to work.

After working in research and conservation roles in New Zealand, USA and Panama, Ben completed his Ph.D. investigating eco-system services. Ben worked for the Ministry for Primary Industries in biosecurity policy before joining Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

With New Zealand’s agriculture export focused, improving the diversity of markets can help to minimise volatility and maximise highest value outcomes. There are markets that have traditionally used sheep products that maybe under-utilised by New Zealand. Ben is interested in researching this during his scholarship.

Cam Henderson

Cam owns and operates a 750 cow dairy farm near Oxford, North Canterbury. With degrees in engineering and finance he has worked in a range of dairy industry roles including time with Fonterra and DairyNZ.

Alongside overseeing farming operations, Cameron currently commits much of his time to the Waimakariri Zone Committee in setting local environmental limits and to representing farmers as North Canterbury Federated Farmers Provincial President.

“All farmers will benefit from adopting the latest innovative practices on farm and encouraging others to do the same. The faster we can encourage farming to evolve, the less regulatory and public pressure we will have to endure”. Finding the factors that increase the speed of innovation adoption among farmers is a key interest for Cameron.

A trainee in music, golf, snowboarding, flying and Te Reo, Cameron enjoys learning and giving anything a go.

Corrigan Sowman

Corrigan lives in the small rural community of Golden Bay with his wife Ruth Guthrie and their two sons Wylie (7) and Tim (5). He is a partner and manager of the family’s dairy farming business alongside his parents and brother Sam. Corrigan is a graduate of Massey University with a Bachelor of Applied Science, was a former Consulting Officer with DairyNZ and Farm Consultant with FarmRight in Canterbury.

Alongside managing their 400ha dairy farming business, Corrigan has several off-farm roles. He is Chair and Independent Director of the South Island Dairy Development Centre (SIDDC) which operates the Lincoln University Dairy Farm. He is also Deputy Chair of the DairyNZ Dairy Environmental Leaders Forum, an initiative to foster and strengthen environmental stewardship and community leadership amongst New Zealand Dairy Farmers.

Farming practices that strengthen the integrity of the food produced is something Corrigan wants to better understand. “How can we give our farmers better market signals about the value they are creating in their production systems, especially inside a large cooperative?”

Hamish Marr

Hamish is a 41 year old, 5th generation, intensive arable farmer from Methven in the South Island. Hamish is married to Melanie and they have three daughters aged 8,5 and 3. Prior to a farming career Hamish graduated Lincoln University with B COM Ag in 2000 and then spent 4 years with Ravensdown Fertiliser as a field officer based in Ashburton. With his brother and parents, they farm 500ha of arable crops specialising in small seeds.

Outside of farming and family, Hamish is involved in several industry organisations. He is also active within Federated farmers and represents the Herbage seed growers section in Mid Canterbury and within that on the management committee for the Seed Quality Merchants Association, a board that oversees the seed certification scheme on behalf of MPI. Hamish is also involved with the Foundation for Arable Research on the Mid Canterbury Arable Research Group and the Research and Development Advisory Committee. Outside of work he has become a council member on the Ashburton Scottish society representing the Ashburton Pipe Band.

Farmers over the years have become dependent on a vast array of synthetic agrichemicals as a means of controlling weeds, pests and diseases and as a result, increasing yields across the board but this is being challenged and Hamish hopes to study the regulation that is being introduced in Europe and the implications for NZ.

Hamish Murray

Hamish, wife Jessica and three children Lucy (5) Margot (3) and Jonty (1) farm a high country property in Marlborough with Hamish’s parents. The property includes Merino sheep, Hereford and Angus cattle and a recent diversification into beekeeping and honey production.

Hamish has been managing the farm for 10 years after completing a degree in agriculture at Lincoln University, reading Economics at Cambridge University (UK) and work for the New Zealand Merino Company.

Hamish recognises that people are the most important element in successful business and that relationships are paramount in living a full and enjoyable life. He is hoping to gain understanding of how differences in environment, education and values shape agricultural consumers and employees.