Paul Baker writes:
Along with numerous other Old Framlinghamians in agriculture and other industries I have been fighting thorough the mountains of paperwork generated by new directives and initiatives from various levels of Government. The administrative burden of management increases as a consequence and the current reform of the Common Agricultural Policy is a case in point. Our business difficulties with the reforms have even been cited in the House of Lords. It was within this background of frustration that a neighbouring farmer and previous Nuffield Scholar suggested I apply for a Nuffield Farming Scholarship to take the opportunity to step back from the day to day running of my business and get a new perspective. In February this year I was fortunate to be awarded the 2006 John Oldacre Foundation Award and join the ranks of Old Framlinghamians that have become Nuffield Scholars. I have chosen ‘Mixed Farming- diversification or diversion in a global market?’ as my topic.
Historically British farmers have adopted a mixed farming system to use livestock and cropping enterprises to complement each other and reduce risk. I am interested to find out if the need to specialise due to the requirement for technical excellence in any one enterprise has reduced or removed this advantage in an increasingly global market. I plan to investigate how mixed farming, particularly dairy with arable, feature around the world and what can be learnt from different market and environmental situations in other countries. Particularly how different forage crops, milking stock and methods to minimise environmental impact can provide ideas for an economic and justifiable production system for the UK.
I am only just starting my study fitting UK and European visits between my farm business commitments. A trip to China in June based in Guangzhou 7th-17th and Shanghai June 17th – 24th 2006 is planned to investigate what can be learnt from this increasingly influential country. I would be glad to meet up with any O.F.s in that region particularly any with agricultural connections. My main block of study for 6-8 weeks in winter 2006-7 has not yet been finalised. I would be most interested in hearing from Old Framlinghamians that feel that they have progressive contacts in mixed farming systems around the world that could advance my study and would accept a visit from an interested OF.
Please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to view the one-page Nuffield flyer concerning Paul’s award.