Nuffield scholar Andrew Dyke has been awarded the Trust’s prestigious Bullock award at its annual conference in Exeter this weekend.
About 200 past and present Nuffield scholars gathered to hear this year’s intake report on studies from social care in farming to the threat of terrorist attacks on food chains and food production systems,
The first day of the conference was followed by a dinner and the presentation of the award, instituted by Stephen and Gill Bullock to recognise a Nuffield scholar who had used the fruits of their study to develop a successful business.
The judges, who included Farmers Weekly editor Jane King, selected Mr Dyke from a shortlist of four Nuffield scholars, each of whom had used their Nuffield experience to help build a successful business. The judges praised Mr Dyke’s energy, vision and drive and described him as a “convincing winner”.
Mr Dyke won his Nuffield scholarship in 1997 to study the future of UK dairy farming, with particular emphasis on how the industry would be affected when agriculture came within the world trade talks remit.
Travelling to Sweden, Germany, Holland and the USA, Andrew realised that dairy producers had to get bigger and improve their marketing if they were to survive falling milk prices.
Although his dairy herd at Pineapple Farm, Bridport, Dorset, was in the top 6% of UK genetics, the layout of the farm prohibited massive expansion. He took the decision to stop milking and build a business park.
With his wife, Yvonne, he has also set up a successful consultancy, development and estate management business.
The Pineapple Group now encompasses three companies, has won a number of awards, and is set to turn over £2m-3m in the next 12 months.
“All our clients are landowners who are making change. When people ask me what I do I still think I am a farmer, it¹s just a bigger business. The Nuffield Scholarship broadens one¹s views, and it made me much more receptive to going and looking for other ideas. If I hadn’t done the scholarship we wouldn¹t be where we are today.”
Mr Dyke said: “The day I put on my Nuffield tie for the first time was one of the proudest moments of my professional life.”