Three high performing students receive ‘Centenary Award’ from NFU

Three promising postgraduate agricultural students from across the UK have been selected to receive a ‘Centenary Award’ bursary from The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust to further their education within the sector.

Colin Markham is one of the three students who received the award. His aspiration is to “become an agent of positive change within the agricultural industry.”

The Centenary Award was launched by rural insurer NFU Mutual to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2010; to support agricultural leaders of the future, and champion research and innovation within the industry. It provides annual bursaries to pay up to 75% of course fees for selected postgraduate students in agriculture. To date, 49 young people have received help through the award to further their education.

The three selected students for 2022 are:

  • Frances Thomas from Brecon, Powys: MSc Agrifood Innovation, Aberystwyth University
  • Joe Goodenough from Hermitage, Berkshire: PhD Wellbeing Assessments for UK Dairy Farmers, Hartpury University
  • Colin Markham from Tywyn, Gwynedd: MSc Agricultural Economics, University of Reading

Colin explained how the award will help him to achieve his ambitions: “It is a real honour to have NFU Mutual supporting my postgraduate studies. My long-term career aspiration is to become an agent of positive change within the agricultural industry, and my upbringing on a hill farm in the Snowdonia National Park has given me a deep-rooted appreciation for a thriving agricultural industry, and the role it plays in supporting rural communities and broader society across the UK.”

Joe Goodenough from Hermitage, Berkshire (above)

Joe’s Thesis will explore how different strategies such as farm assurance schemes could include mental health assessments, to support wellbeing in the UK dairy industry. He commented: “I have held a long-term interest in both wellbeing and resilience within the farming community, and dairy farming is very close to my heart too. Since a young age, I helped with milking on my family’s dairy farm, so have a detailed understanding of the peaks and troughs of the British dairy industry.  So, my PhD Thesis brings the two together. The aim of my research is to explore the practicalities of

Frances Thomas from Brecon, Powys (above)

Frances’ postgraduate studies will commence in January next year, and she is passionate about playing a part in influencing the future of UK agriculture. Frances explained: “I relish the opportunity to enhance my knowledge and advance my career position with the support of this prestigious award. This master’s course will provide me with knowledge and expertise of measuring environmental impacts and effective waste management strategies within food supply chains. I am particularly interested in developing my knowledge and expertise in sustainability, and how agriculture and livestock farming can improve its position working towards reaching our net-zero targets.”

Announcing the award’s recipients for 2022, Jim McLaren MBE, NFU Mutual Chairman, said: “Our aim for the Centenary Award is to support promising individuals who are passionate about making a difference to the future of UK agriculture, and to champion their important areas of study. We are delighted to be supporting Frances, Joe and Colin with our Centenary Award bursaries, and wish them all the very best for their postgraduate courses.”

Centenary Award bursaries will again be available in 2023. Applications for the award next year will be invited from the start of January, and information about the scheme can be found on the NFU Mutual website, by searching ‘Centenary  Award’.

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