Thursday, 02 February 2023 07:55

The future of ag consultancy

Written by  Peter Burke
Ag First chief executive and National Fieldays chair James Allen’s Nuffield Scholarship will examine the role of the ag consultant for the next generation. Ag First chief executive and National Fieldays chair James Allen’s Nuffield Scholarship will examine the role of the ag consultant for the next generation.

One of the country’s top agricultural consultants, James Allen, is planning to do a major study on what the role of the agricultural consultant may look like in the future.

Allen has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship, which means for the next 12 months he’ll be able to research his chosen topic as well as undertaking a series of overseas visits aimed at widening his knowledge of agriculture. Allen is one of four New Zealanders selected as Nuffield Scholars this year.

Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust is a charity organisation whose aim is to bring positive change to agriculture through the development of its future leaders. Scholars head overseas to learn from others and helping them share their brilliant ideas when they return home.

Allen is the chief executive of AgFirst and also chair of National Fieldays. He says the reason for choosing as his topic the future role of ag consultants is that there’s a huge amount of information available to farmers on the internet and from the data they collect on their own farms.

“But the role of the farm consultant has never been greater and nor has the need because there is some sort of disconnect going on there about information verses the application of that information,” Allen told Rural News.

“I want to look at exemplars – companies who are the best in the world at undertaking agricultural consultancy around the world. As part of that I will be spending time in Europe, the USA and UK.”

Allen says as well as studying the topic of his choice he’ll also be participating in a number of tours for all the Nuffield Scholars who come from all around the world. The first of these is in March when the New Zealanders attend the global scholars conference in Vancouver in March. He says this will provide an opportunity to learn and share ideas.

He will then go on a four week study tour to four countries and see a range of agriculture issues. At this stage, the final arrangements still have to be worked out but the likely countries they will visit are Kenya, England, Spain and Italy.

Allen says he feels very privileged to obtain a Nuffield scholarship and hopes to have his personal research paper completed in about a year.

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