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Nuffield Scholars program bringing international farmers to WVU

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As part of the Nuffield International Farming Scholars program, each year a select group of farmers embark on a journey around the globe to expand their knowledge of agricultural industries and best practices.

For the first time in the history of the program, the scholars will visit West Virginia. The West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will serve as hosts for the July 9-16 tour.

The Nuffield Scholars program awards scholarships to approximately 50 young agriculturalists from 12 countries each year. Designed to expand the capacity of participants through transformative experiences, the program provides scholars with the opportunity to make international connections and explore production agriculture, agribusiness, agricultural policy and related topics in different parts of the world.

“West Virginia agriculture doesn’t often come to the top of mind for people when they think about U.S. agriculture. As a land-grant institution, it’s important for us to showcase the important research being conducted here and how it benefits our state,” said Matt Wilson, associate dean for research in the WVU Davis College. “As we move forward with a strategic plan for agriculture in the state, engagement with international thought leaders will benefit us just as much as it benefits them. It’s an opportunity to learn from each other.”

The first leg of the trip will include a visit to the WVU Research Forest where scholars will explore the outdoor educational and research laboratory, a tour of the WVU Organic Research Farm which will highlight pasture management and bioenergy crops, and a visit to the WVU Animal Science Farm to discuss poultry feed research being conducted in a state-of-the-art feed mill.

“Given the make-up of West Virginia’s agriculture and forestry sectors, we can provide real insight as to how agriculture can fit in challenging environments such as large forest holdings and controlled environment agriculture,” Wilson said. “Our goal is to provide the international scholars with information and ideas they can explore implementing once they return home.”

Following visits to WVU facilities, the group of 11 scholars will travel to different areas of the state with NRCS officials to meet with local farmers.

Stops will be made at farms in Harrison, Monongalia, Marshall and Brooke Counties where scholars will learn about prescribed grazing, stockpiling forages to extend the growing season, high tunnels, micro-irrigation, vegetable production and maple syrup production.

The last leg of the trip will include a visit to the Upper Decker’s Creek Watershed Dam rehabilitation project in Preston County. The rehabilitated dam will provide approximately 100 million gallons of raw water to the Public Service District.
“Hosting the Nuffield Scholars is a tremendous opportunity for us to meet with agricultural professionals from across the world. The Nuffield Scholars are highly motivated and successful leaders in their respective agricultural fields. We look forward to meeting with them, sharing information, building international partnerships, and exchanging agriculture related stories,” said Acting NRCS State Conservationist Andy Deichert.



CONTACT: Lindsay Willey, Interim Director of Marketing and Communications, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, 304-293-2381,