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Cotton growers take a global focus with Nuffield Scholarships

To remain competitive in the global fibre marketplace, Australian cotton growers must innovate and strive for excellence.

One way to bring the world’s best ideas home and hone leadership skills is by doing a Nuffield Scholarship. The unique program takes primary producers and those in closely associated industries around the world, to discover new tools, practices and ideas, and forge connections that can improve long-term sustainability.

Two NSW cotton growers are thrilled to start their Nuffield Scholarship travels next month and urge their fellow growers to apply now for 2023.

Billy Browning, from Narromine, and Richard Quigley, from Trangie, are heading to Singapore, France, the UK, Canada and the US in June and July.

They will travel with six other farmers from Australia, Zimbabwe and Ireland. Together, they will explore businesses such as sustainable family farming operation Perry Farms in Canada, the world’s biggest fresh produce market Rungis International in France, and more.

“I am keen to drive the return on the irrigation business. I see a real opportunity to investigate irrigation designs, irrigated commodities, and multiple water uses from a single a water source,” Billy (pictured above) says.

Billy, who is supported by the Australian Department of Agriculture and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, is particularly keen to investigate alternative irrigation options that enable farmers to best utilise water and renewable solutions such as solar pumps and battery storage for bore and river water.

Sustainable water use is front of mind for Richard too. Through his scholarship supported by Cotton Research & Development Corporation and Cotton Australia, he is exploring cropping systems and techniques which preserve moisture in zero-tillage farming systems.

“I am very excited to travel across the world and look at agriculture globally, explore other businesses and see what we can adapt to our climate and systems back home in Australia. I am also excited to do some domestic travel as I believe we have some fantastic operations on home soil,” Richard (pictured above) says.

“With drought scenarios in the US similar to what eastern Australia faced in 2017 to 2019, it will be interesting to draw on their experiences on what impact ground cover and crop residues play.”

Nuffield is supporting both farmers to travel and visit a variety of agribusinesses in the next few months. Billy and Richard will then share their findings with the cotton industry and beyond.

Nuffield Australia CEO and 2013 Nuffield Scholar, Jodie Redcliffe says the organisation has been busy organising a plethora of mind-expanding research trips for Australian farmers.

“International travel is back, and Nuffield Australia is seizing the opportunity to send farmers abroad to bring innovative ideas home,” she says.

“Through our program, Scholars get the opportunity to tackle key challenges in their industry and hone their skills. That’s why we see Nuffield alumni in leadership positions throughout agriculture and associated industries.”

Applications are now open for Nuffield Scholarships in 2023 and Nuffield Australia will award up to 20 scholarships. Among those on offer is a cotton industry scholarship supported by Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC).

Each scholarship is valued at $30,000 and enables scholars to spend 14 weeks of travel over two years to study a topic important to their industry.

Applications close on Friday 17 June 2022, with the recipients to be announced in September.

Find out more and apply at

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