Over £500,000 invested in farming
By John Kerr, chairman, Farmers Club Charitable Trust
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
THIRTY years ago the Farmers Club Charitable Trust was established to “promote the science and technology of agriculture in all its aspects for the public benefit”. Three decades later the Trust has delivered more than £500,000 of funding for a wide range of farming projects, taking UK agriculturalists to all four corners of the globe.
At its inception the Trustees were keen to broaden the experience of those educating future generations of agriculturalists, and to facilitate the exchange of academic knowledge. Thirty years later, with the industry facing new challenges and an urgent need for a better public understanding of valuable and proven new science, I cannot envisage a more laudable goal.
The Trust always welcomes new funds by way of donation or legacies to maintain this valuable work and to add to the Trust endowment funds. If you feel that you, or an individual, organisation or trust you know can help, please contact Club Secretary Stephen Skinner (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.com
) in confidence.
Over the past 30 years more than 120 travel bursaries have supported projects as diverse as fish farming in Japan and Korea, value-added milk production in Australia, share farming in New Zealand and viticulture in California. The farming implications of global positioning, biotechnology, food legislation and molecular science have all come under scrutiny.
The brainchild of the late Trevor Muddiman,the Trust made its first grants in 1981,initially funded by donations and covenants from Farmers Club members, generously matched by the late Sir John Eastwood. In the late 1990s Trevor Muddiman’s wife, Stella, who is now a valued trustee, very generously transferred assets from a private family trust to the Farmers Club Charitable Trust. Over the years other club members and their families have also made very generous gifts to the trust funds.
This has ensured that the Trust continues to meet its objectives of disseminating information, providing bursaries, or courses connected with the study of agriculture, and supporting activities calculated in particular to advance education and training in agriculture.
THIRTY YEARS ON IN 2010
In most years the Trust makes grants of over £20,000. In 2010, despite the economic downturn, grants totalling £30,000 were made, in support of studies in Uruguay, Uganda, Canada, Australia, Germany and the USA. The diversity of subjects (see list) is a wonderful testament to the enthusiasm of the applicants and highlights the very great value to the whole UK farming industry.
Over the years beneficiaries have come mainly from educational establishments and the extension services throughout the United Kingdom. Having served as ambassadors of the Farmers Club and UK farming during their study tours many have gone on to play leading roles in the education sector. Reports published in the Journal highlight the very high quality of the award recipients and the excellence of their work.
The post-graduate award assists those employed in agricultural education, aged 22 to 50, to widen and develop their own technical expertise outside the UK, enhancing their own career prospects and ultimately benefitting all the students for which they are responsible by sharing their experiences with future generations working in farming and the allied industries and professions.
The closing date for applicants is mid-February each year, with interviews of short-listed candidates conducted in mid-March and grants awarded thereafter, for post-graduate short-term study tours, normally overseas and rarely exceeding six weeks.