A group of 10 Nuffield scholars have been spending the past week in Ireland to share what they have learned, and to discuss the issues facing agriculture in their home countries.

On Tuesday, July 2, the group attended the Nuffield Ireland 2019 GFP Networking Event at the Horse and Jockey Hotel, near Thurles, in Co. Tipperary.

The visit to Ireland forms part of a global tour which started on June 5, and has seen the scholars visit Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, China and Germany.

The meeting in Tipperary was for past and present scholars, and also those who are considering a Nuffield scholarship in the future.

The purpose of the event was to hear from the GFP scholars about what they have learned from the programme, the issues in their individual sectors and home countries, and how they intend to apply their scholarship experience in the future.

The keynote speaker was 2011 Nuffield scholar Aisling Meehan, a dairy farmer from Co. Clare.

The meeting was divided into two panels. The first featured a representative from Ireland, the UK and Brazil.

Claire Hodge, from the UK, has studied ‘connectivity’ in the seed potato supply chain. She believes that there should be further study on the communications between seed producer and purchaser.

Brazilian representative Henrique Borges Neves Campos is exploring ways to reduce spray drift from ground and aerial pesticide application, and how to reduce environmental damage from pesticides.

Aisling Moriarty, milk quality manager for Kerry Agribusiness, also spoke on the panel. Her study topic is the promotion of milk surveillance schemes and ‘decision support tools’ to help farmers become more proactive in herd health.

The second panel consisted of scholars from Australia, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

Frank Miller, from Australia, oversees the largest plantation of African Mahogany trees in the world. He is studying how business diversification can benefit investment.

Ingrid Jansen, who previously worked as a policy advisor in the European Parliament, is researching successful collaborations among farmers, with the aim of improving the position of farmers in the supply chain, and returning a higher investment for them.

Finally, New Zealand’s Hamish Murray, who manages a 13,000ha operation that includes sheep, cattle and honey production, is investigating how differences in environment, education and culture have shaped consumers’ values, and how the agricultural sector can better understand future generations of consumers.

The group has spent six days in Ireland, and will next visit Washington DC and Texas in the US. Their travels conclude on July 18.