Queenstown’s Carlos Bagrie wins prestigious global farming scholarship
Food and farming entrepreneur Carlos Bagrie has been awarded one of the most prestigious accolades in global agriculture.
The 2024 Nuffield Farming Scholarship was presented to Bagrie and three fellow scholars at Parliament in Wellington last night, Tuesday, November 7, by Minister O’Connor. The Nuffield Scholarship is a scholarship awarded to leaders and innovators in the NZ primary sector.
Bagrie – who co-founded retail food business My Food Bag and now owns Queenstown’s Royalburn Station with wife Nadia Lim – was one of only four recipients chosen for the elite scholarship after a rigorous selection process.
“It’s very humbling to have been selected for this life-changing opportunity,” he says. “The Nuffield Scholarship is synonymous with some of the best agricultural leaders and innovators in the world, and I’m excited to learn more about the most up-to-date and efficient farming practices and systems, particularly in the regenerative and ethical food production space.”
As part of the coveted programme, Bagrie will travel around the world for 18 weeks during 2024, including an international Scholars Conference in Brazil in March. This is followed by a five-week tour that covers four continents, exploring the various agricultural contexts, practices, strengths and challenges.
Rural Leaders chief executive officer and Nuffield Scholarship selection panelist Lisa Rogers says the Nuffield Scholarship is an international farming programme that drives insight and foresight to keep NZ at the global forefront of food and fibre.
“Carlos was selected for the scholarship as a hands-on farmer who is part of a new breed of operators with high entrepreneurial leadership skills, and as someone who demonstrates constant adaptability and innovation in his farming practices,” she says.
All Nuffield Scholars select an area of personal interest and are granted all-expenses-paid travel to countries of their choice. Bagrie – a fifth-generation farmer – says he hopes to visit China, the USA, the Netherlands and Germany to research large-scale, direct-to-market food production and zero-waste circular farming solutions.
Royalburn Station is a diverse farm-to-plate operation specialising in ethical and regenerative farming to produce premium food on a large scale. Royalburn is renowned for its pasture-raised eggs and award-winning lamb, as well as beer, honey, vegetables, oils, seeds and grains.
“The timing couldn’t be better for us at Royalburn,” adds Bagrie. “We’ve reached a pivotal phase in our growth and the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most innovative farms is very exciting. There will no doubt be ideas and initiatives that we can bring back to NZ, integrate them into Royalburn, and share that knowledge and experience with other farmers throughout NZ.
“I’m particularly interested in zero-waste circular systems and maximising those systems to reduce costs, and a focus on more consumer-led farming.”