Kent farmer Tom Sewell has been named the first HGCA Nuffield Arable Scholar and hopes to make a difference by looking into the long-term benefits of no-till farming during his 12 month scholarship.

Mr Sewell (pictured second on the right) and his wife Sarah farm in partnership with his father, Jem, and mother, Anna, growing 350ha of arable crops and around 60ha of grass for hay production. He is hoping to give something back to the industry, carrying out practical research that can help UK growers improve their cropping practices.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to the HGCA for helping me fulfil my ambition of making a difference to the industry. I am hoping my scholarship will help supply growers with more information on this forward thinking practice,” says Mr Sewell.

As part of the award Mr Sewell will have the chance to spend at least eight weeks of his tenure researching the topic abroad.

“I hope to meet progressive farmers, advisors and experts in the area of direct drilling and no-till farming and learn more about any long-term benefits they have experienced and see if it can be replicated in the UK,” he adds.

Results of Mr Sewell’s study will be presented at the Nuffield Annual Conference in 2014.

HGCA already offers an array of bursaries to PhD students to help raise the profile of agricultural research and development. The HGCA Nuffield Arable Scholarship Award helps broaden this involvement to candidates in the arable sector aged between 22 and 45, and train the next generation of agricultural researchers.

“The key strength of Nuffield is that its name opens doors for scholars when they travel the world looking at their field of study,” says Nuffield scholar and HGCA board member Guy Smith.

Follow Tom Sewell’s progress on the HGCA Nuffield Arable Scholarship Award Blog, available on the HGCA website or on Twitter.

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