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Professor Michael Winter OBE 

New Nuffield award hopes to influence the future of British farming

Nuffield Farming is awarding University of Exeter academic, Professor Michael Winter, with a Scholarship to study for the first Nuffield Farming Lecture. 

The award is a development of the ‘Frank Arden Scholarship’ and Professor Winter will be provided with a grant of £15,000 to complete 18 months of study and travel to answer the question: ‘How does the UK farmer deliver to the UK food culture(s) of 2030?’

Professor Winter is a well-regarded and experienced academic in the agricultural sector. “He’s an ideal candidate for the award, and we’re sure he’ll return from his travels with a new wealth of information and recommendations to benefit the industry,” says Mike Vacher, Nuffield director.

The first part of his study will be a desk based literature review followed by a study tour made up of three to four shorter visits, to enable him to continue with his current work and other commitments.

He plans to visit countries where incomes are high and agricultural concerns are well articulated in the media and climates are similar to the UK.

“Countries such as Switzerland, the Netherlands and the USA are all further ahead in terms of public concern for food and diet as well as agricultural practices. I’m certain that these countries will provide me with the most valuable and relevant information,” says Professor Winter.

During the study period, Professor Winter will analyse the following points:

  1. Trends in global production and consumption
  2. Trends in UK society, expressed through concerns over agricultural production processes, interest in provenance and concerns over health and nutrition
  3. Trends in UK consumer demand, reflecting price sensitivities, food safety and changing patterns and practices of food consumption
  4. UK agriculture itself – the resource and regulatory constraints and opportunities under which it operates and competing demands for land for other ecosystem services

He believes that each of these points must be addressed in order to develop a food and farming strategy for the delivery of safe, nutritious and affordable food in the UK.

“Even after over 40 years in the industry I’m still very passionate about British agriculture and I want to do my part to help the industry. I hope that the outcome of my Nuffield project is an informative piece of work that will positively influence farming going forward into the future,” he says.

Professor Winter will present his findings at the 2018 Nuffield Farming Lecture in London. The lecture will be followed by a debate, which all attendees are invited to take part in. This will promote thinking and discussion about the lecture topic and hopefully seed new initiatives. 

Date: 14 September 2016

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