The 2024 Nuffield Awards Ceremony was held at the Grand Hall in Parliament, Wellington last night and it was a night of celebration and recognition for New Zealand's agricultural sector as four exceptional individuals were named as the 2024 Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholars.
Minister Damien O'Connor hosted the ceremony, which highlighted the vital role of leadership in the ever-evolving world of agriculture.
The four distinguished scholars for 2024 are as follows.
Hailing from Otago, Carlos Bagrie is a versatile figure in the food industry, with experience spanning primary production, distribution, retail, and media. He is renowned for founding Royalburn Station, a high-country farm that delivers premium-quality food to top-tier restaurants.
Additionally, Carlos co-founded My Food Bag, an innovative food distribution company that answers the age-old "what's for dinner?" question for thousands of Kiwis weekly.
His dedication to the food sector extends to the TV screen, as he played a vital role in TV1's 'Nadia's Comfort Kitchen' during COVID lockdowns and even featured in TV3's 'Nadia's Farm.' With a focus on circular farming systems, Carlos aims to reduce waste and enhance profitability.
Central Hawke's Bay is home to Rachel Baker, a passionate individual whose career revolves around the people, communities, and businesses in food production. With a background as a dairy veterinarian, dairy farm systems consultant, share milker, and educator, she has recently taken on the role of Portfolio Manager of MyFarm Investments' Hawke's Bay apple syndicates.
Her proposed Nuffield research will explore the impact, challenges, and opportunities of global food strategies on food producers, particularly their applications for New Zealand.
Jenna Smith is the Chief Executive of Pouarua, a Māori Agribusiness encompassing Dairy, Arable, Beef, and Horticulture on the Hauraki Plains.
She has extensive corporate agriculture experience across New Zealand and overseas, leading Pouarua Farms to become finalists in the prestigious Ahuwhenua Trophy in 2021. Jenna's Nuffield research will focus on economically and sustainably viable alternate land uses for lowlands and peatlands vulnerable to climatic pressures.
A fifth-generation dairy farmer based in Southland, Peter Templeton is dedicated to the future of farming and the implementation of new technologies.
With 11 seasons of dairy farming experience, he's keen to explore innovative practices for individual farms and gain a better understanding of New Zealand's value chains and their plans for innovation.
Kate Scott, Chair of the New Zealand Rural Leadership Trust, lauded Minister O'Connor's unwavering support of Nuffield and emphasized the importance of adaptable and high-performing leaders in the agricultural sector. The challenges faced by the industry, within a context of continuous change, necessitate resilient leaders who can create diverse and productive environments.
The 2024 Nuffield New Zealand Farming Scholars represent a bright future for the food and fibre sector as they embark on their journeys of exploration and discovery, contributing to the growth and sustainability of New Zealand's agriculture.