Over the years, Rose Danaher has learned a lot working with Iowa farmers to develop conservation and water quality plans as an environmental specialist for the County Soil and Water Conservation District in Iowa County. This year, she’ll have an opportunity to broaden her water quality knowledge base, by a whole lot.

Danaher, vice president of the Iowa County Farm Bureau, has been selected as one of two Nuffield Scholars from the United States for 2019. She plans to study water quality efforts in different parts of the world and how they can be applicable to Iowa.

“I think this is going to be a very neat opportunity to broaden my horizons on what people are doing to improve water quality around the world,” Danaher said recently. “Then I want to bring some of that knowledge back to Iowa and the important projects I work on here.”

Global ag knowledge

The Nuffield Scholarships, started in the United Kingdom in the 1940s, are designed to provide research opportunities for farmers and agribusiness people from around the world to study farming, horticulture or rural industries. Each year, approximately 80 scholars world­­wide are selected for the program.

Danaher was one of two Nuffield Scholars selected from the United States for the 2019 session. Her scholarship is co-sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, along with the Iowa Soybean Association, the Iowa Pork Producers Association and Kee’s Creek Farm in Delaware. 

The Nuffield Scholars program will begin this year in Ames. The scholars from all over the world will gather there in March for a week-long conference for orientation, along with a background on Iowa farming.

Beginning in Iowa

“It’s the first time the program has ever started in Iowa, so it will be very exciting to welcome all of these scholars to the state,” Danaher said. “I’ll get to be the hometown host, which should be fun.”

In June, Danaher will join with other Nuffield scholars on a six-week learning tour that will include visits to Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, France and Canada. Danaher, who lives near Amana and raises cattle, is still working to outline her concentrated research portion of the Nuffield Scholars program and doesn’t yet know where in the world that research will take her. She does know, however, that it will revolve around agriculture and water quality.

Visiting major resources

“I want to visit the major water resources around the world that are heavily influenced by agriculture, like the Yangtze River in China or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia,” Danaher said. “Other parts of the world face the same water quality challenges that we do, and I’ll be looking for new ideas, or even some old ideas, that could be applicable here in Iowa.”

It’s shaping up to be a very busy year for Danaher, but she is thrilled to have the opportunity.

“It’s going to be a life-changer for sure. It will definitely broaden my horizons and open a lot of doors,” she said. “And it will give me an opportunity to bring knowledge home to help Iowa farmers improve water quality.”