As a Newcastle University research farm, Nafferton is often used as an educational facility for all levels of agricultural teaching and training.
Newcastle University offers a wide range of BSc Honours degree programmes in the fields of agriculture, environment and food science. The School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (previously the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development) is consistently ranked as one of the best in its field and was ranked respectively 1st and 2nd in the UK for Agriculture and Forestry in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015 and the Complete University Guide 2015.
Currently, NEFG offers two MScs in collaboration with Newcastle University: Organic Farming and Food Production Systems and Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.
Both include taught modules at Newcastle University and make use of facilities at both Nafferton Farm and Cockle Park, another Newcastle University farm. Students in both programmes participate in two field courses: one in Crete and another which explores farms in Northeast England.
The MSc in Organic Farming and Food Production Systems considers the global demand for foods from certified ecological (biological or organic) and other ‘low-input’ systems has been increasing rapidly, resulting in one of the fastest growing food industry sectors. Such systems are widely considered to have environmental, ethical, sustainability and food quality benefits which contribute to the development of agricultural systems and the rural environment. This presents a range of challenges, which requires (a) knowledge of the history, principles and standards of organic farming and (b) an understanding of the scientific basis of soil, crop and livestock management and economics, marketing and policy development in ecological (organic or biological) farming and food production systems and (c) an appreciation of ‘conventional’ farming methods and approaches.
The MSc in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security considers the problem of (a) predicted increase of the global population to 9 billion by 2050, (b) increasing pressure on non-renewable or scarce resources (e.g. energy, minerals and water) and (c) need to increase food production while minimising resource use and negative impacts on the environment, food security will become a major focus for both scientific and commercial innovation development. The underlying aim of this programme is to develop the human resources needed by both academia and industry to address these challenges.
For additional insight into these MSc Programmes, including photos and videos, please visit the personal blog of a former student, Jessica Byam, who was a 2014-2015 Organic Farming and Food Production Systems student. Jess’ site includes an entire section documenting her time in Newcastle, so please have a look.
Studying in Newcastle
The Newcastle University website has a great deal of information about what to expect as a student in Newcastle—if you are considering any of the agriculture programmes affiliated with the NEFG, please take some time to look at resources about student life, funding and finance and considerations for international students.