Nuffield 2011 International Triennial Conference

The 2011 Nuffield International Conference was held in South Australia and Western Australia from Sunday, 25 September to Sunday, 9 October 2011. The theme was focusing on the major looming challenges for agriculture worldwide – competing for human resources, land use and capital.

There were three stages to the 2011 International Conference:

  • South Australia – 25 September to 30 September 2011
  • Transit to Perth – 1 October to 4 October 2011
  • Western Australia – 5 October to 9 October 2011

The conference committee included:

  • Brendon Smart (Chairman) – 1990 South Australian Scholar
  • Peter Nixon – 1990 Western Australian Scholar
  • Andrew Johnson – 2005 South Australian Scholar
  • Edgar Hawter – 1984 Western Australian Scholar
  • Tim Van Loon – 2002 South Australian Scholar
  • Jim Geltch (Nuffield Australia CEO) – 1986 New South Wales Scholar
  • Nicola Raymond (Conference Coordinator) – 2006 South Australian Scholar

In total, 445 registrations were received for the 2011 Australian Nuffield Conference. A summary of the two-week event is shown below. A four page program (in PDF format) for the whole event, can be downloaded from this link. Photographs from event can be viewed on the Nuffield Australia web site photo gallery.

A motion put in the Parliament of South Australia congratulating the Nuffield Scholars organisation on its 60th anniversary and noting the International Conference, can be read here (6.3 MB PDF).

Pre-Conference Outback Tour to Flinders Ranges

A special pre-international conference outback experience was also available for delegates, spending six days in the spectacular Flinders Ranges of South Australia. This all-inclusive tour commenced from Adelaide on Saturday 17 September and returned on Friday 23 September.

Over 20 delegates joined this tour, made up of Scholars from Canada, the UK, New Zealand and Australia and highlights included camping in the shearers' quarters at Minburra Station, a tour of Wilpena Pound, a visit to Arkaroola, the famous Ridge Top Tour and the Gammon Ranges.

South Australia

The Stamford Grand Hotel, Glenelg, South Australia was the venue for the launch cocktail party on Sunday 25 September. Over 180 Scholars and partners were present for an evening of camaraderie and enjoyment. Conference Chairman Brendon Smart welcomed everyone to South Australia and outlined the proceedings for the two-week event.

Monday 26 September

Delegates departed Adelaide on one of four technical study tours including, the Port Lincoln fishing region on the West Coast; the wine region, corporate farms and value-chain region of the Mid-North; the intensive and extensive industries of the South-East including cropping, irrigation and livestock; and the Adelaide district farming region.

On these four-day regional tours, delegates swam with tuna, did a case study on a high-profile businesses, visited local points of interest, met local celebrities and enjoyed local produce. All tours returned to Adelaide on Thursday 30 September.

Friday, 30 September

A major conference day and dinner was held with over 200 delegates in attendance. It was opened by the South Australian Governor, His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce. Keynote speakers included Julian Cribb, of Julian Cribb and Associates, who focused on the global picture of food and farming for the next 50 years in relation to our theme; Mick Keogh, Executive Director at the Australian Farm Institute, who focused on Australia's carbon policy and what this means for agriculture and agribusiness; and Thos Gieskes, Rabobank Australia CEO who presented on changing dynamics of commodity supply and potential solutions to this challenge.

The conference day also included presentations from David Brownhill (Australian Scholar), Brendon Smart (Australian Scholar), Julian Raine (New Zealand Scholar), Roger Mercer (UK Scholar), Bruce Watson (Australian Scholar) and Andrew Johnson (Australian Scholar). Chairman and moderators included Terry Hehir (Australian Scholar), Stuart Wright (New Zealand Scholar), Barry Cudmore (Canadian Scholar), Wynne Jones (UK Scholar), Sam Archer (Australian Scholar) and Stephen Fell (UK Scholar). The conference day was followed by a gala dinner.

Saturday 1 October

Delegates departed Adelaide on one of three transit tours en-route to Perth. These included taking the Indian Pacific Train across the Nullarbor to Perth; travelling to Kalgoorlie, the major mining town in Western Australia; and Curtin Springs/Uluru on the outback adventure of a lifetime.

Available presentations from the Adelaide Conference:


On arrival in Perth on Tuesday, 4 October, all delegates reunited for a cocktail party at the Little Creatures Brewery at Fremantle, which was walking distance to the Esplanade Hotel where delegates were based.

Wednesday, 5 October

180 delegates attended the second major International Conference day at the Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, which was opened by the Hon. Terry Redman MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Food in Western Australia. Keynote speakers included Major General John Hartley, Future Directions International; David Archibald, Scientist and Author; Paul Mckenzie, Agrian Management; and John Foss, The Chia Company and Australian Nuffield Scholar. There were also two panel sessions.

The first included addresses by Australian Scholar Annabelle Coppin on 'The Impact of Government Interference'; Australian Scholar Leon Ryan on 'Demystifying India and China – market opportunities'; Australian Scholar Rob Edgerton-Warburton on 'The impact of food shortages on Agriculture'; and Australian Scholar Andrew Fowler on 'Threats and Opportunities to my Business.'

The afternoon panel session included addresses by 2010 Australian Woman of the Year Sue Middleton on 'Opportunities for Innovation'; Australian Scholar Murray Gmeiner on 'Finance/capital – Corporate versus Private'; Australian Scholar Ed Cox on 'Dairy – the impact of market dominance'; and Australian Scholar Tim Van Loon on 'Social and human capital – Co-operating in Agriculture'. Chairmen and moderators included Peter Nixon (Australian Scholar), Stephen Fell (UK Scholar), David Cussons (Australian Scholar), Brendon Smart(Australian Scholar) and Wynne Jones (UK Scholar). The conference day was followed by a gala dinner at the same venue.

Thursday, 6 October

Over 120 delegates departed Fremantle on one of three Western Australia technical study tours including, to the north and the Benedictine Monastery town of New Norcia and the diversity of surrounding agriculture; to the south and the vineyards of Margaret River and the trees that make the state famous; and to the east, the historic town of York and the farmlands that supply the bulk of Australia's grain exports. On these three-day tours, delegates visited major grain farms, livestock farms, local points of interest, and enjoyed local produce and wine.

All tours returned to Burswood in Perth on Saturday 8 October where all delegates enjoyed a final evening of merriment aboard the Crystal Swan boat which cruised along the Swan River. The conference closed on Sunday 9 October.

Available presentations from the Perth Conference:

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