Two young people from Northern Ireland, aged between 18 and 24, will have an opportunity to speak at the 2024 Nuffield Farming Conference.

The three–day event takes place in Belfast between November 19 and 21 next year.

The selected duo will be part of the Nuffield Farming ‘Next-Gen’ Scholarship Programme.

A pilot scheme for the programme will run in 2024. It will be open exclusively to young people in Northern Ireland with a demonstrable interest in the dairy industry.


Tom Rawson, vice-chair of Nuffield Farming scholarships, attended the recent launch of the ‘Next-Gen’ programme, held at the Agri-Food and BioSciences Institute (AFBI) in Hillsborough.

He confirmed the significance of the new scholarship and its specific relevance to Northern Ireland’s dairy sector.

“Next-Gen will provide young people, aged between 18 and 24 with an opportunity to secure an in-depth knowledge of the UK’s dairy farming sector in 2024.

“It will also allow the scholarship recipients, and all the initial applicants, to find out more about Nuffield farming scholarships and the key role played by the Nuffield organisation at the very heart of the farming and food industries,” he said.

Scholarship programme

Two applicants will be selected by the Northern Ireland Nuffield Farming Association to take part in a fully funded, 30-day dairy sector study programme in the UK during the early summer of 2024.

The programme aims to give young people the opportunity to develop their understanding of the industry, while also building networks and future opportunities.

The application period for the ‘Next-Gen’ scholarship is already open, it will close on January 31, 2024.

Interviews for shortlisted applicants will take place in early February 2024, and scholarship recipients will be announced by the end of that month.


The study tour is supported by the Nuffield Farming Dairy Group and will provide an overview of the UK dairy industry.

The scholars will participate in a dairy tour in North Wales, and visit more than ten other dairy businesses.

In addition, the scholars will be assigned a mentor and give a presentation about their experiences at the 2024 Nuffield Farming Conference, which will be held in Belfast.

Following a successful pilot programme, the Next-Gen Scholarship will be made available to young people across the UK in a variety of sectors, with up to six scholarships awarded each year.

Rupert Alers-Hankey, director designate of the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, said that the programme aims to develop young talent within the industry.

“It is an exciting initiative for Nuffield Farming and forms an important part of our commitment to leading positive change in agriculture.

“We hope that taking part in the programme will enable young people to establish themselves in the industry, while also getting a flavour of all that Nuffield Farming has to offer.

“Launching our pilot programme in Northern Ireland is particularly special as the Nuffield Farming Conference returns to Belfast in 2024,” he said.