The MacRobert Trust Scottish Farming Scholarship was established in partnership with the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust in March 2009 for a trial period of three years. Michael Blanche, The MacRobert Trust’s first scholar was awarded the John Stewart Shield for best presentation at the Nuffield Winter Conference held in Lincolnshire on 28th October. Michael’s study was entitled “The Farming Ladder”.
Michael is a first generation sheep farmer and farm consultant in Perthshire, where he lives with his wife and four children. He studied at the Harper Adams Agricultural College in Shropshire and has been sheep farming since 2003. He currently has 700 sheep on seasonal grazing lets in Fife, some 35 miles from his home in Methven, Perth. His intention is to find a farming tenancy where he can put his experience gained from his travels to optimum use.
The objectives of the Nuffield scheme, originally set up by Lord Nuffield and the then Vice President of the NFU in 1978, was to select scholars who would be encouraged to bring back to farmers in the UK ideas of good and innovative agricultural husbandry from different parts of the globe. Michael’s overseas travels in search of ways he might climb the farming ladder took him to the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, India and France.
“This prize was awarded in recognition of how much Michael had gained from his Nuffield experience and the Nuffield process. It also recognised the support of his sponsors and offered clear guidelines for those wishing to enter farming. His study ‘The Farming Ladder’ explored the progression from a little to a lot, gaining skills, land, profits and growing equity in a variety of different ways”. John Stones, Nuffield Director, October 2011
The MacRobert Trust’s second scholar, Steven Jack from Nairn, is engaged on his travels. The third scholar will be selected in January 2012.