This will be a month Georgie Cartanza will not soon forget. Her first day as the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension state poultry agent was Dec. 1 and two weeks later she was named a 2017 Nuffield International Farming Scholar, one of approximately 20 selected each year from nominations across the globe.
Cartanza is the first American to receive the prestigious scholarship.
“Being chosen as the first American Nuffield Scholar makes me feel tremendously humble and honored,” Cartanza said. “It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I believe will help me to better serve the University of Delaware and the poultry industry, an industry that has a huge economic impact on our state and region.”
In the 1940s, the Nuffield Foundation was established to carry on the philanthropy and innovative vision of British automaker William Morris, also known as Lord Nuffield, who saw the value of education abroad and encouraged the experience in others.
In 1978 a separate entity, the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust, was established to focus solely on agriculture advancement and exploration of progressive ideas. Since its establishment, more than 600 Nuffield scholars have originated from the United Kingdom with another 1,600 scholars coming from across the globe.
Cartanza is one of 90 working farmers from around the world to participate in the 2017 program.
While Nuffield Farming Scholars conduct study tours in the United States, none have originated from the U.S.
“All of us in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources are beaming with pride with the news of the Nuffield Scholarship,” said Dean Mark Rieger. “Beyond the personal growth and genuine excitement that is in store for Georgie, I can’t think of a better way for someone to start a career as a Cooperative Extension poultry agent than this. She will bring back a wealth of information and new ideas to both the college and to Delaware’s multi-billion-dollar poultry industry.”
Cartanza will travel a minimum of eight weeks abroad in locations selected to support her focus on poultry production. In addition, she will provide a significant report to the global agriculture community on her experience.
In addition to her new Cooperative Extension career, Cartanza operates an organic poultry farm in Kent County and has worked an additional 20 years in the poultry industry.
In 2014, Cartanza and her farm were recognized with Delaware’s Environmental Stewardship Award acknowledging her efforts with nutrient management best practices that reduce chicken nutrients from entering local watersheds.
For Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, Cartanza’s expertise, love of learning and dedication to share knowledge with others made her a natural candidate to put forth as a Nuffield Scholar nominee.
“Her expertise reflects a true grass roots experience but coupled with a thorough understanding of the biology and physiology of chickens,” Kee said. “As a result she has a true understanding of the impact of a wide array of variables on the growth of chickens.”
According to the Delaware Department of Agriculture, Kee has assisted with the development of a Nuffield program in the United States since 2014 and will become president of the Nuffield USA board upon his retirement in January.
“Georgie will see different production systems in very different cultures and different economic systems,” Kee said. “Our agricultural systems are always becoming more intertwined with global economic and market forces. I couldn’t think of a better opportunity for an experienced professional like Georgie, starting on her extension career at this point of her career, than the Nuffield International Scholars program. She will be able to identify various components of the different systems that may be of real beneficial use here on Delmarva.”
Indeed, Cartanza is already considering how the Nuffield program will directly benefit other growers through her Cooperative Extension outreach, and said she hopes the experiences will make her a better servant leader.
“The main areas I hope to investigate are managing birds in extreme temperatures – tropical and cold climates – learning the latest technologies used in poultry housing that save on energy and maximize bird comfort, and exploring how environmental challenges and consumer demands have changed production methods,” Cartanza said.
“Participating in the Nuffield International Scholarship program will help me investigate, learn, question, understand and apply new information from a global perspective. The experience will help me to develop a greater appreciation and understanding of how other farmers meet challenges, how they make decisions, how they utilize technology and changing production methods,” she said.
Article by Michele Walfred
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