New crop of Nuffield scholars named

Representatives of Nuffield Canada visit Canada Malting in November 2016. (

Canada’s agriculture sector has yielded four new scholars to join the international Nuffield community and receive funding for research in their fields of interest.

Nuffield Canada, the Canadian arm of the international Nuffield organization since 1986, has named Ellen Crane, Josh Oulton, Gavin Robertson and Shelley Spruitt as its Nuffield scholars for 2018.

The new scholars’ year of international study is to begin in March 2018 with other Nuffield scholars from around the world at a week-long conference in the Netherlands, focused on global agriculture and business topics and personal development.

“These four scholars will build their leadership and organizational capabilities while investigating issues critical to Canadian agriculture,” Kelvin Meadows, chairman of Nuffield Canada, said in a recent release.

“Their international experiences over the next two years will provide opportunities and perspective that will add tremendous value to their own careers, and to our Canadian agricultural community.”

Crane, who hails from Murray Siding, N.S. and is general manager of the Maritime Beef Council, plans to study which beef production attributes are most important to consumers; what consumers are willing to pay for; and ways in which cattle producers can implement these attributes for marketing use.

Oulton, who owns Taproot Farms, a grain, fruit, vegetable and livestock operation at Port Williams, N.S., aims to study “all aspects” of growing high-quality flax fibre for long-line linen processing into high-quality clothing, including opportunities for use of waste materials from long-line processing.

Robertson, the winemaker and vineyard co-ordinator at Ontario’s Niagara College Teaching Winery, plans to examine the curricula and content of a “wide range” of international viticulture training programs, seeking input from stakeholders such as vineyard and winery owners and operators, marketing boards and government agencies, to develop recommendations and guidelines for viticulture training in the Canadian grape industry.

Spruitt, a partner in Against the Grain Farms at Mountain, Ont. — specializing in the use and restoration of ancient grains to produce value-added products, whole grains and flour — plans to study ways in which awareness is created and developed in other countries on the importance of locally-sourced grains, produce, meat and cheeses. Her research is expected to be shared in Ontario and across Canada.

The new scholars were sponsored by Nuffield Canada alumni, except for Spruitt, who was sponsored by Nuffield supporter Glacier FarmMedia. Nuffield Canada also gets program support from the Alberta Wheat Commission, Farm Credit Canada, Grain Farmers of Ontario and the Western Grains Research Foundation.

While the non-profit Nuffield Canada, formerly the Canadian Nuffield Agricultural Scholarship Association, has been incorporated since 1986, Nuffield’s Canadian arm was set up in the 1950s with Lord Nuffield’s original endowment.

Nuffield Canada each year awards scholarships worth $15,000 to “enterprising Canadian individuals with a passion for agriculture,” with the aim of fostering “agricultural leadership and personal development through international study.”

The scholarship is to be used for a minimum of 10 weeks of travel for study purposes. Recipients can come from any field of agriculture, including livestock, grain or vegetable production, forestry or horticulture, and from “any aspect” of the industry, including owners, managers, employees, administrators or bureaucrats.

The larger international Nuffield community today includes Australia, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe and Brazil, and over 1,500 Nuffield alumni.

More information on the Nuffield organization is available online. — Network

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