Announcing the 2021 Nuffield International Scholars

Nuffield International Farming Scholars is pleased to announce its newest Scholars for 2021. Seven farmers and agri-professionals from Brazil, the USA, Chile and Japan are successful applicants who join 22 other Nuffield International Scholars as part of a unique global network. These agriculturalists will spend 14 weeks traveling to explore production agriculture, agribusiness, agricultural policy, and related topics around the world. The 2021 Scholars are:

Aaron De Long – United States of America
Aaron  De Long Design and construction of strong, resilient, local food systems, shortening supply chains and increasing direct connections between farms and consumers

Aaron De Long, from Pottstown in Pennsylvania, receives a 2021 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by Delmarva, a collaboration of organisations from a large peninsula on the East Coast of the United States.

Aaron is Program Manager for Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to cultivate environmentally sound, economically viable and community-focused farms and food systems. The 5,000 Pasa members include over half who identify as farmers.

Aaron’s role includes farm-based research projects, education coordinator for dairy grazing apprentices, grant writing, administration activities and coordinating webinars and in-person events.

In addition to the Pasa role, Aaron grows cut flowers on his partner Emma’s vegetable farm and manages a wild population of goldenseal for the local herbal market. In 2021, Aaron and Emma will launch a regional farm-food aggregator business.

For his Nuffield Scholarship, Aaron will study the design and construction of strong, resilient, local food systems, focusing on shortening supply chains and increasing direct connections between farms and consumers.

“This research is about reinvigorating local food production as a cornerstone economic driver. Integrated into this work is increasing food access locally as well as viewing food production and responsible land stewardship as complementary practices,” Aaron says.

“Degradation of water quality, soil health and quality of diet – both in my community and throughout much of the wider world – can be connected to the disappearance of many small farms to development, as well as the intensification of farm practices with high social and environmental costs”.

During COVID-19, Aaron saw multiple points of weakness exposed within the larger food system and global supply chains, while at the same time many smaller producers and regional systems performed well.

“COVID-19 has shown me that small, multi-faceted, and local, is a viable path towards true resilience within our food system. Food grown locally insulates a community from breakdowns in longer supply chains, while dollars spent locally stay in a community longer and provide a buffer to global economic trends.”

Aaron has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources, a Master of Fine Arts in fiction, and a certificate in Agroecology from the University of California. He is also a Board Member for the Pennsylvania Center for Poultry and Livestock Excellence as well as Pennsylvania FarmLink and serves as a Technical Advisor with the Pennsylvania Grazing Lands Coalition. In addition to his passions for agriculture and writing, Aaron has been a Buddhist meditation instructor and teacher since 2011.


This scholarship is a collaboration of organisations based in Delmarva, including Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit Foundation; Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit; Mountaire Farms; Russell Stevens Farms; Nagel Farm Service; Tri-Gas & Oil. For further information regarding Nuffield Scholars in the USA, contact Ed Kee, President, at 302-222-0282,

Carlos Zegwaard – Brazil
Carlos  Zegwaard Improve dairy industry profits by finding a more reliable way to measure milk quality when collected at farms

Carlos Zegwaard, from the Paraná region of Brazil, receives a 2021 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by Castrolanda Cooperative and will study the dairy sector.

Carlos works on his family dairy farm in Castro, with special focus on managing the herd and staff. The business has 290 dairy cows producing approximately 11,500kg of type B milk per day and has a team of 12 staff. They plant 150 ha of corn, ryegrass and oats for dairy feed, and grow 60 ha of soybeans annually.

Carlos’s main role is to ensure operations run smoothly, supervising and managing people that work on herd health and fertility, milking, feeding and crop management.

As part of his Nuffield Scholarship, Carlos will identify ways to improve dairy industry profits, including different ways to measure and reward milk quality when its collected at the farms.

“Milk quality is something Castrolanda is very proud of, in fact it’s a pioneer in Brazil for paying dairy farmers based on milk quality, not only quantity,” Carlos says.

“The current system at Castrolanda is that the milk tanker driver samples the milk as it is picked up on each farm, so there is room for possible human mistakes and even fraud.”

“Dairy represents about one-third of the cooperatives income, so making sure milk payment is made in a fair and reliable way would have a very positive impact throughout our local community and wider region”.

Carlos also suggests that automation will play a key role in the improvement of Brazilian dairy production, and he would like to visit Israel, New Zealand and Chile to research automation, in addition to production systems and transportation efficiency.

“Finding ways to improve efficiency and reliability of dairy farmers here in Castrolanda will have possible flow on benefits for the wider Brazilian dairy industry, since Castrolanda is used as a reference for other dairy producing areas to learn from”.

Carlos has a Business Management degree from Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa (UEPG) as well as an Agricultural Technician qualification from the Instituto Cristão. He has spent time studying and working in the USA and his future goal is to play a significant role in the Brazilian dairy industry.


Castrolanda is a Brazilian cooperative union between people, partners and businesses. The Cooperative has business units divided into operations including meat, milk, grains, potatoes. The commitment of the business areas is to coordinate, develop and foster the activities of the cooperative members, being present in all links of the production chains and in adding value through industries with own brand production as well as third parties, which contribute to the development representativeness in the market.



Elisa Blanco – Chile
Elisa Blanco Water distribution for agricultural use to improve water security, decrease conflict situations and enable long-term sustainability

Elisa Blanco, from Valparaiso in Chile, receives a 2021 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by PSP Investments.

Elisa is currently completing a PhD and working as a researcher in the Agricultural Economics Department at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. There, she focuses almost exclusively on water issues, supporting research projects in a diverse range of basins and irrigation districts in Central Chile, with a particular emphasis on fruits and vineyards.

For her Nuffield study, Elisa will study water distribution for agricultural use to improve water security, decrease conflict situations and enable long-term sustainability for those dependent on water.

Elisa sees institutional, technological, financial and transparency issues with self-managed institutions overseeing water distribution and sees relevance in the topic, given current climate change scenarios.

“I believe that although ongoing technological improvements are key, overall improved management is synonymous with the need to distribute water in a more sustainable and integrated manner,” she says.

“I will review different irrigation district schemes, for example, considering not only surface, but groundwater regimes as well. I will use the opportunity to study these water schemes and the associations that run them in other countries in to compare these with the current system in Chile. This will be done with particular emphasis on conflict resolution and coordination regimes, technological advances, information devices used and financial strategies for the distribution of water.

“By studying and developing tools to better distribute water among farmers, cities, industrial and environmental uses, I am confident that the whole aquifer will gain long-term sustainability”.

Elisa has a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. She is also a consultant at the Water Unit of the Natural Resources Department at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and until recently was the coordinator and researcher at the Water Law and Management Center of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.

This scholarship provides Elisa with an opportunity to understand different irrigation districts and other forms of water businesses globally. She will use this knowledge to develop practical tools to help with the distribution and management of water in a sustainable way among different users in Chile.


The Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) is one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers with C$169.8 billion worth of net assets under management as of March 31, 2020. It manages a diversified global portfolio composed of investments in public financial markets, private equity, real estate, infrastructure, private debt – and is a leading global investor in agriculture and timber through its Natural Resources group. The Natural Resources team focuses on partnering with best-in-class local operators committed to sustainability, employee health and safety, and being positive long-term contributors to their communities.



Kosuke Kubo – Japan
Kosuke Kubo The feasibility of free-range dairy farming to build a successful model in Japan

Kosuke Kubo, from the Hiroshima region of Japan, receives a 2021 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by Norinchukin Bank. Kosuke becomes the second scholar to be awarded a Nuffield Scholarship from Japan.

Kosuke is Managing Director of Sagotani, a 35-ha Japanese dairy business with 120 cows. Sagotani was founded by Kosuke’s grandfather in 1941 to localise dairy production and to improve the livelihood of local farmers. The business produces milk and dairy products with almost 30 employees and an annual turnover of 500 million yen.

Kosuke joined the business in 2016 as Sales General Manager and developed the business into an ‘experience’, establishing various direct sales channels such as a farm café and an online business. Sagotani now brings in over 80,000 visitors annually.

As part of his scholarship, Kosuke’s research aims to explore the feasibility of free-range dairy farming to build a successful model in Japan.

“I believe that free-range is good for the environment, is sustainable and improves animal welfare, yet only ten per cent of dairy farmers in Japan practice free-range,” he says.

“The reasons for the low uptake include Japan’s uniquely steep and narrow landscape, the Japanese farmer tradition of maximising milk volume per head, and the lack of awareness about free-range practices.

“Reducing the amount of feed purchased by a free-range dairy would enhance the profitability of the farm, as well as lead to forest conservation and the use of abandoned arable land in Japan”.

Kosuke is a Board Member with the Development of Local Resources and Protection of the Natural Environment and is a local nursery director of a social welfare corporation called Ai Fukushikai. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from Doshisha University, Kyoto, and has qualifications in business law, accounting and financial analysis. In 2005, he won the all-Japan University Yacht Championship.

His career goal is to contribute to his local economy and provide people with opportunities to have a direct experience with dairy and farming.

“As a Nuffield Scholar, I want to study how farming is done in other parts of the world to help me gain advanced farming techniques and reflect on my own farming style. I hope to build an international network of fellow farmers with whom I can exchange good, long-term practices”.


The Norinchukin Bank is a Japanese cooperative bank contributing the development of Japan’s agriculture, fishery and forestry industries. The bank is one of the largest commercial banks in Japan and is known as a global institutional investor, total assets of which are approximately US$ 1 trillion.



Renato Rodrigues – Brazil
Renato Rodrigues Climate change in agriculture, greenhouse gases and sustainable production systems

Renato Rodrigues, from the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, receives a 2021 Nuffield International Scholarship sponsored by TIAA-CREF Global Agriculture and will study sustainable agricultural practices.

Renato is researcher at Embrapa which, under the aegis of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, works to develop a Brazilian model of tropical agriculture and livestock. Embrapa is headquartered in Brasília, with over 43 research centres and more than 9,000 employees across Brazil.

Renato’s research is focused on climate change in agriculture, specifically greenhouse gases and how production systems like Integrated Crop-Livestock-Forestry (ICLF) can contribute positively. He is also President of a public-private association (ICLF Network) composed of Embrapa and others in the agricultural sector. He believes that Brazil is capable of becoming the first agro-environmental power on the planet, demonstrating how it is possible to simultaneously produce and preserve.

“For my Nuffield Scholarship I will be surveying sustainable agricultural practices in main global players, analysing market demands for sustainable products, promoting sustainable intensification of agriculture and connecting production with the SDGs, based on a Nexus approach to food, water and energy security,” says Renato.

“As a result, I hope to set guidelines focused on production practices, public policies, financial mechanisms and market practices, to guarantee food and nutritional security for the global population in a changing world”.

Renato would like to visit the main grain and meat production regions and consumption centres in the United States, study value-added products and consumption trends in the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and the Netherlands, as well as explore adoption and potential for ICLF systems in Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand.

“I believe in economic development with social responsibility, environmental preservation, cultural respect and institutional commitment, and I believe that conscious companies are the way to that future,” he says.

Renato has a Bachelor in Biological Sciences, MBA in Environmental Sciences, Executive MBA (management) Masters, and PhD in Environmental Geochemistry.


TIAA CREF Global Agriculture invests in high-quality farmland assets across five geographies spanning North America, South America, Australia and New Zealand. The company is managed by Westchester, whose 120 agriculture investment professionals manage the company’s assets in each country.



Susan Weaver Ford – United States of America
Susan Weaver Ford The role of women in agriculture

Susan Weaver Ford, from Kenly in North Carolina, receives a 2021 Nuffield International Scholarship, supported by a collaboration from the state of North Carolina. She will study the role of women in agriculture.

Susan is directly involved in the 2000-acre family farm, producing corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and cotton. She assists in all aspects of the business including marketing commodities, record keeping, purchasing equipment and staff training. She is also involved in operations including planting, ploughing, spraying and harvesting.

Independently, Susan also operates a 10-acre horticultural business growing peas, butterbeans, string beans, squash and pumpkin. She sells direct to the customer and recently expanded with a delivery service, utilising social media to develop in this direction.

Susan holds an MBA from West Virginia Wesleyan College, a BS Business Administration, Minor in English from North Carolina State University and has achieved Certificates in Executive Farm Management and Agriculture Leadership Development programs.

For her Nuffield Scholarship, Susan will research gender inequality in agriculture and promote women in the industry to inspire and educate the next generation.

“According to the World Economic Forum, women grow 70% of food in Africa, yet 65% of the land in Kenya for example, is governed by customary laws discriminating against woman,” she says.

“In developing countries, women receive only a fraction of the land, financing, inputs, training and information of male farmers, yet women can bring a different perspective and are great at multitasking in the role of a new-age farmer today, including producer, accountant, mechanic, accountant, chef and mom.

“I am enthused by reports that suggest that closing the global gender gap in agriculture would grow food production and build more sustainable futures for women.”

Susan sees herself as the owner-operator of the family farm business in future years and would like to promote and educate young aspiring female farmers and prepare her children for a profession in agriculture.

“I would like to visit countries including the USA, West Africa, United Kingdom, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia to observe the cultural differences of female farmers and how empowering women in agriculture can enhance global food production”.

Susan is a Board Member of North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association, the Tobacco Farm Life Museum and sits on the Grant Review Committee at North Carolina AgVentures.


This scholarship is a collaboration of organisations based in North Carolina, including AgCarolina Farm Credit; Flatlands Insurance Group; North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Griffin Farms, Inc.; North Carolina Small Grains Association; Nuffield USA; Kee's Creek Farms. For further information regarding Nuffield Scholars in the USA, contact Ed Kee, President, at 302-222-0282,

Vanessa Chiamulera – Brazil
Vanessa  Chiamulera Sustainable alternatives in agriculture to optimise productivity and mitigate the environmental impacts of activity

Vanessa Chiamulera, from Mato Grosso in Brazil, receives a 2021 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by Bayer. For her scholarship, Vanessa will study different sustainable alternatives in agriculture to optimise productivity and mitigate the environmental impacts of activity.

Vanessa is Process Manager of ‘Grupo Morena’ a family-based 9,500-ha farm producing soy, corn, cattle and eucalyptus, and grain warehouse services. With more than 60 employees, there is a strong focus on sustainability, respecting social, environmental and economic outcomes. On-farm production activities include no tillage, crop rotation, integration of livestock–farming–forestry, traceability, photovoltaic energy and garbage recycling.

Grupo Morena also has a project called “Open Field Academy,” opening its doors to visitors including farmers, schools, universities, technical experts and international visitors.

Vanessa says that every day new techniques are developed to improve farm production, but these must be combined with sustainable practices.

“Alternatives such as integrated production, inclusion of new technology and capacity-building for people can make a big difference to agriculture,” she says.

“I believe that sustainable production is the biggest challenge for our sector. Producing food for a growing population is vital, but it is also our responsibility to implement creative, simple and innovative methods that are socially, environmentally and economically responsible.

“Brazil is a country with very preserved natural resources, and I believe it is possible to optimise resources, preserve and produce at the same time, while improving the life of people working in this sector.”

For her research, Vanessa will visit the Netherlands as they have made a national commitment to produce twice as much food using half the resources. She will also visit Israel, Japan and Singapore.

Vanessa has a Degree in Business Administration from the University of Mato Grosso State (UNEMAT) and an MBA in Agribusiness Management by ESALQ in University of Sao Paulo. She is also a member of a livestock working group (GTPS) to encourage sustainable practices and is involved in “Agri Hub,” which shares new technologies and supports start-ups connected to agriculture. The farm business is also involved in an international social movement called “Giving Tuesday,” donating not just money but also time to children to teach them about farming and the environment.


Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2019, the Group employed around 104,000 people and had sales of 43.5 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.9 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.3 billion euros. For information on Bayer’s work in agriculture, visit


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