A SHEEP farmer from out near Horsham, and an organic vegetable grower from near Mornington have both been named as the 2019 Victorian Nuffield Scholars.
Anthony Close and Natasha Shields will each receive $30,000 bursaries to travel around the globe while conducting research into their chosen study topics.
Sheep producer Anthony, from Culla, will use his Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) supported scholarship to investigate ways the Merino can once again become a prominent feature of the Australian farming landscape.
With support from the William Buckland Foundation, vegetable producer Natasha Shields, from Baxter, will use her Nuffield Scholarship to investigate packaging options and shelf-life outcomes for organic produce to minimise the use of plastics in Australia’s retail environment.
Chair of Nuffield’s Victorian State Committee, and 2013 Nuffield Scholar, Matthew Ipsen said the selection of Mr Close and Ms Shields was reflective of the state’s proud history of agricultural innovation and growth.
“Victorian agriculture has a very positive story to tell; producing and exporting almost $12 billion of food and fibre every year, more than any Australian state,” Mr Ipsen said.
“Both Natasha and Anthony will research topics of great importance to our state, such as its commitment towards more sustainable packaging for fresh produce, and promoting Australian wool, one of the world’s most in-demand natural fibres.
“With the generous support of their investors, Natasha and Anthony are about to start the journey of a lifetime as they travel the world researching solutions to grow a stronger, more sustainable agricultural sector.”