Announcing the 2022 Nuffield International Scholars

Nine farmers and agri-professionals from the USA, Chile, Japan and Brazil will join the unique global network of Nuffield International Scholars.

The 2022 Nuffield International Scholars are:

Ana Carolina Zimmermann – Brazil
Ana Carolina Zimmermann How to transform Brazil into a recognised agri-environmental power

Ana Carolina Zimmermann, from Goiás in Brazil, receives a 2022 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by Bayer and The Chris Reichstein Philanthropy Fund.

Ana manages Ribeirão Farm, 800-hectare family beef business with 1,100 Nelore cattle in a rotational grazing regime. Ana is also an independent consultant, working with agri-companies to improve business performance.

Ana has a Production Engineering degree from the University of Brasília and has both an MBA in Agribusiness and an MBA in Project Management from the University of São Paulo/ESALQ. Ana is also a co-founder of BASE – Brazil Agro Society Environment, an organization that aims to promote good practices of sustainable agriculture in Brazil and abroad. She is passionate about agricultural education, and the opportunity presented by Nuffield.

“I am a CNA Jovem Program finalist, which is aimed at rural Brazilians with a spirit of leadership. During that process I felt a strong call to study innovation in agribusiness around the world. I planned a global trip, but my family acquired a new farm about the same time, and I pledged to manage it, postponing my travel plans,” she said.

“Then I learned about Nuffield Scholarships, and I felt it was the right opportunity with a clear purpose, amazing network to fulfill my potential, as well as hopefully delivering a positive impact in Brazil with my learnings.”

Ana’s study topic focuses on how to transform Brazil into a recognised agri-environmental power.

“It is known that Brazil has a vocation for agribusiness and sustainability, but we still have a serious problem of communication and reputation. Besides several isolated initiatives to address the sustainability of agri-food systems, there is no innovative ecosystem governance, and we are losing strength when we could be co-creating solutions – using rural and urban talent – for a more resilient, sustainable agri-food-system.”

“I want to study the different narratives that farmers use to understand how to create partnerships that foster open innovation, as well as investigate how networks nest within other networks in a self-organised form to create a thriving cohesive ecosystem that generates human prosperity while respecting the limits of our planet.”

Ana plans to visit the USA, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Israel, the EU and Australia and will deliver her findings through podcasts and YouTube videos, as well as implementing new practices on farm and developing a large, open innovation lab.


Elder Bruno – Brazil
Elder Bruno How digital transformation can be applied to farmers and how digital tools can be helpful for managing ESG

Elder Bruno, an agronomist from the state of Goiás in Brazil, receives a 2022 Nuffield Brazil Scholarship supported by Grupo Sinagro.

Elder supports farmers to achieve better results through the introduction of innovative technologies for the production system and digital tools to support farm management decisions. Currently, he leads the New Business Department of Grupo Sinagro, one of the largest agricultural and cattle input distributors in the Cerrado region of Brazil. His role is to run strategies related to digital technologies and services, where he develops and rolls-out tools to be used by consultants, sales staff and customers to facilitate expansion of the company’s client base across Brazil.

Elder is passionate about using digital technology to improve management and profitability on-farm and across the supply chain. He applied for a Nuffield Scholarship to understand how digital transformation can genuinely be applied to the farmers world while benefiting the sector, as well as getting a better understanding of how digital tools can be helpful for managing ESG.

“My research focuses on how digital transformation can impact large input production and distribution companies, and the real estate sector, and the consequences for their operational structures, financial positions, profitability and ESG management. I will then explore aspects such as how farmers buy or sell their products and how operational decisions about machinery are made. Ultimately, I’d like to understand models that offer farmers a higher chance for logistical, fiscal or even financial gain.”

“The digital transformation of agricultural businesses and consequent reduced transaction costs is something that is much talked about, but farmers, be it grains, beef cattle or milk, still lack real clarity of the benefits that various digital solutions can bring. Considering that several large companies are entering this space, the overall picture is becoming even more complex.”

“After Covid-19, Brazilian farmers will increasingly want better quality of service and speed. The digital training environment can help to improve the workforce, and online or online/offline transactions can increase accessibility, uptake and evolution of what farmers use and how they do business. Increased accessibility also means start-ups can connect more with the farmers problem and not with their products.”

Elder plans to visit key distributors in the USA, Canada and Europe, as well as countries like Israel to understand the latest developments in new technologies. He aims to share his research outcomes through the Sinagro client platform, as well as through associations, group of farmers and other complementary companies, bringing practical tools to farmers and new ideas of business models to increase adoption.

Elder has a degree in Agronomy with a specialty in animal production and a MBA in strategic management. He is also a senior advisor and partner for different start-ups, projects and agribusiness companies and farms, supporting innovative hubs in Brazil to develop their business and connect with farmers needs. Elder also has consultancy experience, as an advisor, farm manager and implementation of integrated crop-cattle systems and new business developments in Brazil and other countries.


Isidora Molina Perez de Castro – Chile
Isidora Molina Perez de Castro Regenerative agriculture, focusing on climate change, biodiversity and water scarcity

Isidora Molina Perez de Castro, from Santiago in Chile, receives a 2022 Nuffield International Scholarship generously supported by TIAA CREF Global Agriculture and the Chris Reichstein Philanthropy Fund.

With a veterinary science background, Isidora is founder and director of Efecto Manada, which promotes regenerative agriculture to farmers by using holistic management methodologies in beef operations, fruit orchards and vineyards, to mimic nature and enhance the environment. Prior to setting up Efecto Manada, Isidora worked with weeds and holistic management, where she developed weed control, soil improvement and holistic planned grazing systems with sheep in orchards and vineyards. Isidora is eager to expand her knowledge of the regenerative agriculture topic, particularly with grazing animals.

“I applied for a Nuffield Scholarship as I have visited several ranches in other countries and learned different regenerative practices, and I want to expand on this with topics such as climate change, biodiversity and water scarcity,” she says.

“Here in Chile, like many other countries, water scarcity is growing and generating loss of land and soil as well as food productivity. If the land is not managed the right way grazing animals can have a negative impact on the soil and environment, yet if managed correctly they can enhance soil health and environmental services, adding value to produce high-quality nutritious foods,” she says.

Isidora would like to visit California and Colorado in the USA, Northern Mexico, Spain, Africa and regions of Turkey and Australia, which all have ranchers implementing regenerative practices across savannahs and semi-arid regions.

Having worked with consultants and trained more than 350 people in holistic management techniques from Santiago to Patagonia, Isidora has the capacity to share the outcomes of her scholarship.

“We have been growing my business rapidly, and in collaboration with Universidad Católica de Chile, I will share everything I learn about regenerative grazing to benefit small, medium and large-scale Chilean producers.”


Raqueeb Bey Ajamu-Osagboro – USA
Raqueeb  Bey Ajamu-Osagboro How regenerative agriculture can help urban farms, and the importance of diversity and inclusion to empower black urban and rural farmers

Raqueeb Bey Ajamu-Osagboro is an Urban Agriculturalist from Pittsburgh and receives a 2022 Nuffield International Scholarship generously supported by Bayer and TIAA CREF Global Agriculture.

Raqueeb is the Founder and serves as Executive Director of the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-op.

“We are an organisation that has brought together a collective group of 20 farmers to work together to solve challenges that we face here in Pittsburgh as black urban growers,” she says.

“We endeavour to transform the narrative of unfair practices such as racism, government policy and a lack of fair access to markets for African Americans, that lead to food apartheid in black communities of underserved people.”

She has won numerous awards including a Finalist Spot in Uprize Competition, - The Hustle and Heart Excellence Award for Entrepreneurship from Pennsylvania State Representative Jake Wheatley, Pennsylvania Agriculture Sustainable Association (PASA) PASAbilities award for business leadership, Softer Side Seminars Rising Up Light To The Community for Creating Positive Change, City of Pittsburgh African Americans in Conservation Honoree, Proclamation from Governor Tom Wolf for Urban Farming, International Men’s Day L.T Henry Economic Sustainability Award, The E.A.T Initiative, World Food Day Honoree and the New Voices, Black Women Green Future Award.

Raqueeb’s scholarship research focuses on two key areas: 1) how regenerative agriculture can help urban farms; and 2) the importance of diversity and inclusion to empower black urban and rural farmers.

“The results of applied practices and education within regenerative agriculture will garner us more successful urban farms in multiple city areas. Regenerative agriculture practices and principles enhance our ecosystems by boosting biodiversity, developing soils, and improve watersheds. These methods also include biodynamics, indigenous farming and permaculture which can heal the earth and give us an increased resilience.”

Raqueeb is thrilled to be a recipient of a 2022 Nuffield Scholarship.

“Nuffield can help us urban farmers enhance our production methods by engaging with other farmers across the globe to achieve sustainable agricultural practices and innovations and help shape policy.”

“This is not just an opportunity to get expertise for our own farm and farmer membership, but I know it is paramount to return what I have learned into our entire community. As a Nuffield International Farming Scholar, I will be able to find best practices for urban farming and policy, to bring back home with integrity to support future goals.”


Renata Rossetto Lopes – Brazil
Renata Rossetto Lopes Carbon sequestration initiatives that could be scaled up across Brazil

Renata Rossetto Lopes, a primary producer from Ceará in Brazil, is awarded the 2022 Nuffield International Scholarship, supported by PSP Investments and the Chris Reichstein Philanthropy Fund.

Renata is Partner and Business Manager at Fruitissimo, a 49-hectare certified organic farm with ten full-time employees producing tropical fruits, including cashews, guava and acerola cherries, as well as temporary crops such as beans. Renata is responsible for financial and commercial management, as well as development, which includes a post-farmgate facility project to be implemented in 2022.

With a passion for conciliating agriculture and the natural environment, Renata applied for a Nuffield Scholarship whilst thinking about climate change and how agriculture can be part of the solution.

“Our farm in northeast Brazil faces challenges such as droughts and high temperatures, these are getting worse with climate change. This scholarship will help with my professional development as well as my research on this topic,” she says.

“My research focuses on the types of carbon sequestration initiatives that grant carbon credits to growers in other countries and could be scaled up across Brazil, where there is currently a lack of financial incentive to reduce emissions.”

“Rewarding growers for being part of the climate change mitigation fight is key to having better results and there are already projects compensating growers for carbon sequestration through regenerative agriculture soil management practices,” she says.

“I would like to understand these techniques, their limitations, their results and if they can be implemented more effectively here in Brazil – adapting them to our country’s needs.”

Renata will visit countries that have specific carbon farming initiatives in place including the USA, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France, and Australia. To advance the discussions about the role of agriculture in climate change mitigation, Renata plans to share the outcomes of her study with her agricultural network, bringing new business models and financial tools to promote more sustainable practices in agriculture.

Renata has a Master’s Degree in Business Management, and was awarded a scholarship from the Paris Region Council in France to do a Master’s Degree in International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris.


Ruth McCabe – USA
Ruth McCabe Voluntary stakeholder adoption of conservation agronomy practices and how existing infrastructure and support programs impact the perception of conservation

Ruth McCabe, from State Center in Iowa, is a Conservation Agronomist and receives a 2022 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by a collaboration of farm organisations and individuals from Iowa in the United States.

Ruth has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Plant Science, a Master of Science in Crop Production and Physiology, and is a Certified Professional Agronomist and Certified Crop Advisor. Ruth is a Conservation Agronomist under Heartland Cooperative’s Director of Environmental Resources. Heartland has 6,000 farmer members, 700 employees and 75 locations in Iowa, Nebraska and Texas and provides services including agronomy, grain storage and marketing, feed production and farm financing. Ruth is developing their conservation agronomy program, working with 40 growers across 15,000 acres in Iowa.

As part of her scholarship, Ruth will study voluntary stakeholder adoption of conservation agronomy practices and how existing infrastructure and support programs impact the perception of conservation.

“I am interested in the effect that private agricultural retail companies can have on grower adoption of conservation practices and wish to find sustainable and profitable ways to incorporate these practices, which are often labelled as expensive or contrary to a farm business bottom line,” she says.

“A growing trend is for agricultural retailers to “partner” with agricultural NGOs or conservation organisations to hire and place conservation agronomists. This can help lower the initial “investment cost” of creating a conservation agronomy program, but it also appears to limit the level of trust between general sales agronomists and conservation agronomists. My research could provide additional insight into drivers of conservation farming adoption and the direct support that retailers can offer growers”.

Ruth plans to visit Canada and South America, where there are high rates of no-till adoption and growing popularity of cover crops, and Australia and New Zealand, that use rotational grazing and regenerative agriculture practices.

Ruth is active in her industry and community as a member of the State Team for Women, Land & Legacy. She also has active memberships with Pheasants Forever, the Soil & Water Conservation Society and Practical Farmers of Iowa and is looking forward to the outcomes of the scholarship.

“The opportunity to have a direct hand in this level of conservation agronomy program development has long been a professional goal of mine, and I see myself leading and expanding current initiatives in the agricultural retail sector, always with a strong farmer focus”.


Shinya Okazaki – Japan
Shinya  Okazaki The relationship between agriculture and the environment in Japan

Shinya Okazaki, from the Ehime region of Japan, receives a 2022 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by Norinchukin Bank. Shinya becomes the third scholar to be awarded a scholarship from Japan, having learned about Nuffield whilst attending a ‘next generation agricultural summit’ in 2019.

Shinya has a Bachelor of Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Hakodate College, and a Master of Agriculture from Ehime University.

Established in 1990 by Shinya’s father, his ranch business is called YUBOKU with 600 beef cattle and 50 pigs, directly selling ‘Hanaga Beef’. The business also includes a food manufacturing facility, three retail stores and two restaurants and is managed by 40 staff. Sales were 400 million yen in 2020. Shinya joined YUBOKU in 2013 and was elevated to President of the business in 2016, after achieving double sales growth, which has continued annually. He is delighted to become a 2022 Nuffield Scholar.

“I spent two months visiting farmers in USA and the EU in 2013 and those experiences were very important and valuable. Then I learned about Nuffield and the great opportunities to exchange opinions widely and deeply with farmers around the world. Though this scholarship I would like to develop greater knowledge, build a global network and help revitalise the Japanese agricultural industry”.

Shinya’s study topic focuses on the relationship between agriculture and the environment.

“In 2018, our farm suffered extreme weather events with floods and landslides and that heightened my interest in more sustainable livestock farming models. The Japanese Government has a focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has launched the ‘Green Food System’ which enhances recycling, eco-feed, sustainable energy use, improved animal welfare and a shift towards organic farming, all of which I would like to focus on as part of my research”.

He will visit New Zealand, which is advanced in sustainable grazing techniques and organic farming, as well as the USA and Australia to focus on their beef supply chains.

Shinya is Vice Chair of the Ehime Young Agricultural Management Council, and Officer of Iyo Beef Youth Association. He won a Kintone Award in 2019, and the ‘6th Industrialization Encouragement Award’ sponsored by MAFF in January 2020. He also won a Product Award at Ehime Economic Report in July 2020, for his breeding of “F1 CROSS”, a rare breed in Japan.


Thomas Merwin – USA
Thomas  Merwin How family farms in California can survive and thrive.

Thomas Merwin, from Clarksburg, California, receives a 2022 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by a collaboration of farm organisations and individuals from California in the United States.

Thomas is the General Manager and Vice President of Merwin Vineyards, a multi-generational family farm in the Sacramento River Delta region. Merwin Vineyards focuses on wine grape farming and the cultivation of grains and other row crops.

In addition, Thomas is co-founder and partner in Silt Wine Company, a winery and tasting room in Clarksburg. The business was awarded Sacramento Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year in 2018.

For the past several years, Thomas has served as a Director, Vice President, and currently serves as President of the Clarksburg Wine Growers and Vintners Association. Thomas earned a B.A. in International Relations from the University of California, Davis. During his education, Thomas studied as an Undergraduate Fellow with the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies in Washington D.C. and Israel. Prior to his undergraduate education, Thomas spent a year in Cochabamba, Bolivia as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.

For his scholarship, Thomas will study how family farms in California can survive and thrive.

“Many Californian family farms face workforce shortages, margin compression, dire drought conditions, increased regulatory pressures and lucrative offers from corporations and financial institutions to acquire their farms,” he says.

“Given how challenging the situation is, I want to focus on how family farms can pivot or re-focus for long-term survival, looking at strategies and examples such as collaborating with institutional investors, vertical integration, specialisation, and joint venture partnerships.”

Thomas will travel to Spain and France to study corporate, family, and cooperative farms and wineries, Latin America to research small cooperatives in conjunction with large corporate farms, and also visit the UK to study agritourism and agricultural finance.

“I believe this topic is important because family farms play a critical role in our local, national, and global agricultural community” he says. “I hope my research and experiences will inspire others to re-evaluate their business models and improve their odds for succession and survival”.


Victor Muñoz – Chile
Victor Muñoz The economic productivity of water

Victor Muñoz, from Coquimbo in Chile, is awarded the 2022 Nuffield International Scholarship supported by PSP Investments and the Chris Reichstein Philanthropy Fund.

As an Agricultural Engineering graduate from the University of Chile, Victor was also one of 24 individuals awarded a scholarship to complete a Master’s in Water Management in arid and semi-arid zones at the Universidad de La Serena.

Victor is currently Area Manager at FruitSpec, an Israeli start-up company that has developed early season technology to predict yield and calibres for the fruit crop industry. Victor is responsible for developing FruitSpec’s Chilean market as well as managing a technical and sales team that currently oversees more than 700 hectares of citrus, apples, stone fruit and table grapes.

For his scholarship, Victor is focusing on the economic productivity of water, which is pertinent due to sustained droughts in Chile in recent years that have affected yields and even caused the decline of some orchards. Victor says some growers have moved to more speciality and profitable fruit crops that have higher water needs.

“More specialised, profitable fruit crops are more sensitive to water scarcity, so growers need to think about the economic productivity of water use expressed in revenue terms, especially in my region of Coquimbo where agriculture is one of the most important economic sectors and the biggest water user”, he says.

“Growers of table grapes, citrus, avocados, walnuts, olive oil and even producers of pisco – a Chilean liquor – have applied different strategies for managing drought but all make their own business decisions without a larger, industry wide strategic water plan”.

“I would like to visit the Water Research Centre in Washington State, which has studied the economic productivity of water on different crops, and also California, which is dealing with water scarcity”.

Victor sees himself as a future leader in water management for agriculture purposes in his region, helping growers make better decisions in partnership with research centres, universities and regional government departments. He is also eager to develop his international network.

“I applied for a Nuffield International Scholarship as it is a great opportunity to build my research network and learn from global, experienced agricultural professionals who understand water use in the fruit crop industry and bring these learnings back to my region”.

Victor enjoys running and the theatre – he was an amateur theatre teacher at Club Deportivo Santa Fe de San Miguel.


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