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Nuffield Scholar Johanna Tomlinson provides and insight into her scholarship journey


Nuffield Australia has been supporting Australian agriculture for 70 years. Since 2008, CBH has been a proud supporting partner of Nuffield and has provided financial support towards scholarships to the value of $156,000. 

Nuffield Australia awards scholarships each year to primary producers and people in closely associated industries, to foster personal development and industry capacity building.

The CBH Nuffield Scholar for 2019 was Johanna Tomlinson. As a Perth girl, Johanna fell into agriculture, never thinking growing up in Perth that she would end up farming as a career.

Studying environmental science at Murdoch University with a view to gaining a job in the mining industry was where Johanna was heading, until Johanna met Wayne! Johanna completed her studies in Perth and then went on to work at roles within local grower groups in the Esperance region. 

Today, Johanna and husband Wayne now farm just over 3000 hectares at Bremer Bay and 385ha at Kalgan. They run a 60:40 livestock to cropping operation with canola, wheat, barley, lupins and sometimes oats grown at Bremer Bay in association with 1000 Angus breeders run across the two properties. There is also a 1400 head cattle feedlot run at Bremer Bay with calves going to Harvey Beef to supply a Coles supermarket order and 1000 Merino ewes with some used to produce prime lambs.

As part of her Scholarship in 2019, Johanna travelled to the Americas, Asia and Europe to understand soil health research and best management practice adoption globally.

Johanna focused on the issue of soil acidification because it is one of the biggest soil health challenges in the South Coast region of WA, where she farms. It’s also a challenge for other large areas of WA and New South Wales, and about half of Australian agricultural land is at risk. 

Soil acidity can limit crop and pasture choice, production and profitability. Throughout Johanna’s travels, she found consensus on the most cost-effective way to manage it was to apply lime. Her question then became “how can industry and government support farmers to adopt best practice management.”

Johanna says there are positive signs that government is recognising and taking action on soil health. That includes funding the Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils (Soil CRC), as well as funding to implement the National Soil Strategy. Johanna also welcomes the Western Australian Soil Health Strategy that is under development, and she is looking forward to seeing its implementation plan that is anticipated by the middle of next year.

You can read Johanna's final report here 

Nuffield are currently accepting applications of 2022 scholars. To find our more visit the Nuffield website here. 

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