The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust (NFST) has announced the appointment of the 2023 Nuffield Farming Scholars, three of whom are involved in the poultry industry.
Alistair McBain works as Rearing and Production Development Manager for a large Scottish egg producer and is based in Aberdeenshire. He is responsible for managing four pullet rearing farms and understands the challenges of developing an efficient and sustainable egg production system. Seeing an opportunity to reduce emissions in egg production by decreasing soya in diets, he will review alternative protein sources that can contribute to net zero egg production in the UK. On his travels, he will explore the carbon life cycle of each feedstuff, its nutritional value and agronomic factors that could influence their suitability.
McBain will study ‘A review of alternative protein sources for net zero egg production in the UK’ for his Scholarship, which is sponsored by The MacRobert Trust.
George Roach is General Manager at a family-run agri-business in North Yorkshire with six broiler units, a feed mill, renewable energy enterprises and commercial property. Since returning to the business five years ago, he has taken substantial steps to reduce the carbon footprint of the business. This led him to becoming interested in using insects as an alternative protein to soya. Ahead of potential impending policy changes allowing insect meal as feed for chickens, he will explore options for both industrial and small-scale insect production systems on his travels. This includes how they could be implemented within poultry systems in the UK as well as regions with more limited access to more conventional protein sources.
Roach will study ‘There is a buzz around insect protein in the broiler industry, does the idea have legs?’ for his Scholarship, which is sponsored by The Poultry Meat Award.
Dr Sylwia Sobolewska is based in Shropshire and works as a Senior Technical & Account Manager for a natural animal feed additive company and specialises in supporting poultry and game bird enterprises. She has a particular interest in nutrition and genetics and is keen to explore methods for improving feed efficiency in layer production. For her Scholarship she will investigate if feed efficiency and targeted genetic selection holds the key for performance and profitability in laying hens. She will focus on feed additives, robotics and artificial intelligence, and genetic selection tools as she travels.
Sylwia will study ‘Feed efficiency and targeted genetic selection as the key for sustainable performance and profitability in laying hens’ for her Scholarship, which is sponsored by BEMB Research and Education Trust.
“Over the past 75 years, Nuffield Farming Scholars have contributed immensely to the food and farming industry, leading the way during challenging times,” said Mike Vacher, director of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust. “We have no doubt that our new scholars will continue this tradition, offering both knowledge and leadership in their chosen topics. Coming from a range of sectors, they will investigate some of our most pertinent issues and explore new ways of meeting the future needs of the industry.
“Sharing knowledge and learnings will be more important than ever moving forward. Nuffield Farming Scholars not only become experts in their chosen topics, but leaders who are able to navigate change. This year’s scholars have not only been chosen for the passion they hold for their topic, but also for their leadership traits and potential to shape the future of agriculture.
“On behalf of Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, I wish the 2023 scholars the very best of luck as they prepare to begin their travels,” he said. “While this may just be the start of their journey, I already look forward to hearing what they have learnt and see them share this knowledge within their sector.”