Two Albertans awarded prestigious Nuffield scholarships

The learning initiative is aimed at bringing innovative ideas to Canadian agriculture and developing leaders

A pair of Edmontonians — one a welder turned haskap berry grower and the other an expert in smart agriculture — are two of the four people selected as the 2020 Nuffield Canada Scholars.

Nuffield scholarships, which originated in the U.K. more than six decades ago, allow people involved in agriculture and is mid-career to extensively research a topic they’re passionate about and share what they’ve learned with others in the ag sector.

Recipients of the $15,000 scholarship spend two years on their project, which involves a minimum of 10 weeks of travel for their studies. They can also tap into a network of past Nuffield scholars — which now numbers more than 1,700 around the world. Since 1950, more than 100 Canadians (including 21 Albertans) have been awarded scholarships.

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“We believe that this Canadian leadership program is unique and one of a kind, resulting in diverse perspectives that influence the future of our industry’s success,” said Nuffield Canada chair E. Blake Vince, an Ontario farmer who used his 2013 scholarship to study cover crops.

The Albertans receiving the 2020 scholarships are Andrew Rosychuk and Dawn Trautman.

Rosychuk, who operates the 76-acre Rosy Farms north of Edmonton, began growing haskaps “just for fun” while studying horticulture at Olds College in 2005. The 34-year-old worked in Fort McMurray as a welder before starting his farm in Sturgeon County in 2014.

His study will focus on developing on-farm, medium-scale processing units “giving the primary producer an advantage in capitalizing a value-added ingredient or product,” Nuffield Canada said in a news release.

Trautman is a manager of Smart Agriculture and Food Innovation with Alberta Innovates. The 33-year-old will use her scholarship, which is funded by Alberta Wheat, to study the barriers that producers face in adopting smart ag technologies.

“For me, this scholarship means possibility; to discover, network and grow,” she said in the release. “It’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Many past reports from Nuffield scholars are available at nuffield.ca. Among those from Albertans in the past decade are:

  • best practices in the barley value chain by Matt Hamill, co-owner of Red Shed Malting near Penhold (2017).
  • traceability in beef production by Cheryl Hazenberg, who spent a decade working for the Canadian Angus Association in Alberta before returning to the family farm in Ontario (2014).
  • management techniques for increasing plant and nutrient efficiency by Daryl Chubb, an independent ag consultant in Irricana (2014).
  • development of mentorship programs for women in agriculture by columnist and speaker Brenda Schoepp (2012).
  • controlled traffic farming by Steve Larocque, an independent crop adviser in Three Hills (2008).

The other 2020 Nuffield scholars are Amy Cronin, a well-known figure in the Ontario pork sector, and Jodi Souter, an independent plant breeder from Saskatoon.

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