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Gildernew opens Nuffield Farming Trust’s Irish tour at Stormont gathering

9 June, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA, has addressed Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust delegates at a gala dinner held in Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

The Stormont gala dinner at the start of a 10 day educational tour of Ireland was attended by scholars from many countries including Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Britain and Ireland as part of an Annual World Conference.

Addressing the dinner attendees the minister said:

"It is my pleasure to host the Nuffield organisation here in Parliament Buildings at the start of their first ever conference in Ireland. The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust has been building an enviable reputation for developing leadership in farming and rural industries for the last 60 years.

"The Nuffield Trust has plenty to study here during their Irish visit, with local farming best practice offering global innovation examples across the industry and at both AFBI and CAFRE. We have challenged international scientific opinion recently on a number of issues including bluetongue and hormone testing. Our agri-food education system is also unique globally with the three colleges of CAFRE working through my department, industry and agri-food stakeholders.

"The trust is a very dedicated institution with a commendable ethos of encouraging learning opportunities for rural young people in the agri-food industry. I am also very impressed at their methods for seeking innovative solutions to farming difficulties, particularly at a time when rising costs are hitting production agriculture hard. During your stay in Ireland you will hear more about the challenges that we face across the island and the ways that our farmers and industry are tacking them. I also wish to congratulate the two northern recipients of the award this year, I wish Ciaran and Jason all the best."

The minister also outlined some of the challenges the local industry faces and the goals she has set to overcome those challenges. She stressed the importance of partnerships and the need to build good working relationships through the whole supply chain and rural communities.


  1. The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust (NFST) was established in 1947 as a non-profit making charitable trust which offers bursaries to outstanding, enthusiastic younger people (up to 45 years old) in farming and rural industries and those in a position to influence those industries. About 20 awards are made each year, funded by businesses, organisations and charitable trusts with agricultural and/or educational objectives and past Scholars themselves.
  2. During 2008 two local applicants were awarded Nuffield Scholarships: Ciaran Hamill, a College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) member of staff travelled to Australia to study Electronic Identification of livestock and information flow in the red meat supply chain; and Jason Rankin a dairy farmer from the Ards Peninsula is studying "Leadership and capital structures for dairy co-operatives.
  3. AFBI (Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute. CAFRE (College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise).

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