Page 6

NEWS

Page 6, North East Farmer

June 2014

Scholarship opens farmer’s eyes By JODIE FLEMING BRYCE Riddell never would have anticipated the opportunities that have come his way after being awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship two years ago. The Yarrawonga farmer comanages his family-run business consisting of a commercial Angus cattle herd and lucerne and oaten hay production. The family also run a lucerne cubing plant also based in Yarrawonga, where they produce both lucerne hay cubes and a range of other hay cubes for domestic and export markets. After seeing one of his neighbors awarded a Nuffield Scholarship, Bryce “kept track of what he was up to” and decided that when applications were open again he would throw his hat into the ring as he had some ideas he wanted to look into regarding agriculture on a global scale. The 29-year old has used his scholarship to investigate alternative hay crops and value adding for the hay industry. “I always believed that there was more to the export hay industry than what we had already seen, and it was an industry in which I had been brought up with domestic hay production, not so much the export side,” Bryce said. “When I was awarded my scholarship I spent considerable months making contact

WORLD-CLASS HAYMAKER: Nuffield Scholarship recipient Bryce Riddell said he could never have anticipated the opportunities winning the scholarship has allowed him to undertake.

with hay growers, seed producers, hay processors, hay users and also hay importers in other countries.” After completing a six-week travel program with fellow scholars, Bryce embarked on his own studies by identifying key areas of export hay production around the world. “When I undertook my personal studies after the Nuf-

field Global Focus Program, I travelled to countries including the US, Japan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia researching my study topic. “I could never have anticipated the opportunities the scholarship has allowed me to undertake, the knowledge I have acquired and also the people it has given me the

privilege to meet,” he said. With some assistance from the Australian Fodder Industry Association in Australia and the National Hay Association in the US, Bryce travelled to the US where he met up with many exporters and large hay growers that inspired him to expand his view on what the goals for the family farm were. “Our view was always to be

one of the highest quality and highest regarded hay exporters, and someone said why don’t you aim at being one of the largest as well.” Nuffield Australia is an organisation that provides opportunities to Australian farmers between the ages of 28 and 40 to travel the globe investigating a research topic important to them and Austral-

ian agriculture. Becoming a farmer was not always a for-gone conclusion for Bryce, although he grew up on the family farm situated just out of Yarra Glen where his father grew lucerne hay. In the mid-nineties, his family purchased 1600 acres in Yarrawonga, following up with a further 1100 acres in Mulwala. Having headed off to study banking and finance in Melbourne, his responsibilities pulled him back to the farm to help during the drought. During that period his father passed away, leaving the running of the farm to his mother, his brother and himself. “I always had planned on finishing it (his studies) but when you get wound up in a business that you enjoy it’s harder to get back to studying,” he said. Bryce said that going through the experience of vying for the scholarship was “character building” but it was receiving the scholarship that actually opened his eyes and broadened his mind with what he could actually achieve. “The best thing about being a farmer is the opportunities and every day challenges farming presents. “The downside is that an event that happens on the other side of the world can impact on what we do here and also on your bottom line.”

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North East and Goulburn Murray Farmer  

June 2014