Red meat promotion and development agency Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has re-launched its Travel Scholarship opportunity for individuals working within the industry.
Following a two-year break due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the window to apply is now open.
For nearly 20 years, HCC has been offering the annual HCC Scholarship to farmers, butchers, processors and others who are employed on a full-time basis within the red meat sector.
Successful applicants will spend up to six weeks studying elements of the beef, sheep or pork sectors in a country of their choice. The scholarship project must also demonstrate that it can make an ongoing contribution to the industry. Covid restrictions have meant that the opportunity could not be offered for the last couple of years.
“It gives us great pleasure to start a renewed search for potential scholars this year,” said James Ruggeri, HCC’s Industry Development Executive. “Investing time and money in the people working within the food and farming sector is important, now more than ever as our economy recovers from the pandemic. We are keen to play our part in the upskilling process and this is where the HCC Scholarship can help.
“Suitable candidates will be keen to explore different ideas and develop their enterprise so that they’re fit for the future. They will also be eager to examine certain aspects of the industry and can prove to us that their study will benefit their own business and the sector here in Wales.”
Young Montgomeryshire farmer Thomas Howells was awarded a HCC Scholarship in 2017. He said:
“It was a great opportunity and I felt like I had nothing to lose but so much to gain. Being able to choose my own research topic – upland grazing management – made the scholarship appeal much more as I could gain knowledge which could benefit me in the future.
“The month that I spent in New Zealand visiting farms, universities and attending open days gave me the knowledge and confidence to develop systems at home which have proven worthwhile. I learnt to become more self-sufficient and sustainable by turning surplus grass in the Summer into Winter feed either through bales or growing brassicas. This has been a cost saving and simple.”
“The main and most common thing I heard over there was to keep it simple; pick your KPI’s and stick to them. We are price takers and therefore need to keep a watchful eye on our costs. Understanding why some farmers weren’t using this grazing method, and also why many were, was as beneficial as they’d had years of experience and all had a valuable reasoning behind their systems.”
To apply, individuals must complete the application form on the HCC website before 11 February 2022. If successful, they will be awarded with up to £3,000 towards their trip. In return, they will be expected to report back on their findings to HCC and be willing to share their new knowledge with the industry by undertaking presentations to farmer groups.
“There are many advantages associated with winning the Scholarship,” explains James. “Not only will you be given an opportunity to travel, but you will be allowed to explore an industry that you love, gain ideas and insights which could transform your business, and make useful connections around the world. You will also automatically become a member of HCC’s Scholarship Association which is another opportunity to gain valuable experience and advice from others within the industry.”