A dairy farmer from north Dorset is about to embark on an 18-month journey across the globe to help better understand how organic milk is used in the UK.

Sophie Gregory, 34, runs a dairy farm with her husband in Thorncombe, and has been accepted as one of the latest Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust scholars.

Applying to become a Nuffield scholar has long been an aspiration for Sophie who has been farming for nine years, after originally training as an accountant.

With three children, she had put off applying for several years as she wanted to make sure she could put the time and effort into her research project.

She added: “I wanted to do it for about five years now, but I didn’t have the time with family and the business before.

“So, I am thrilled, proud and shocked to have been accepted now.”

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Sophie with her best beef heard at her farm in north Dorset Sophie with her best beef heard at her farm in north Dorset (Image: Sophie Gregory)

Sophie’s farm is in the north of the county and is home to 360 cows, across 1,300 acres, where farming with an environmental, social and sustainable ethos has always been the aim.

The farm provides organic milk for Arla and is used by the likes of Yeo Valley and McDonalds  as part of a European co-operative which provides them with a paid price for their milk per litre, as well as receiving a share of the profits twice a year.

Sophie is keen to help grow the use of organic milk in the UK and her 18-month journey will see her travel to Sri Lanka, South Korea, Taiwan, India, USA, France, Austria, New Zealand, as well as the UK.

She continued: “The aim is to see if it stacks up for the farmer as lots of land is need, does the consumer understand it, and can it feed the world.”

"Organic milk is the only way to guarantee graded milk. There are no artificial pesticides, herbicides or insecticides, and the cows spend most of their time outside.

"Essentially, it is made as much in line with nature." 

Her journey will start at the Nuffield Farming Scholarships annual conference in November, where this year’s cohort will be introduced.

In March 2024 she will then travel to Brazil with other scholars to share contacts and plan her research across the globe.

Mike Vacher, director of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust, said: “Our 2024 Scholars have already displayed a clear passion for their chosen topics, and I have no doubt that they have the potential to become leaders who shape the future of agriculture."

The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust awards scholarships annually in the UK to young people between the ages of 22 and 45 from across the agricultural industry.

There is no need for formal qualifications to apply for a Nuffield Scholarship and scholars are selected with a view to developing tomorrow’s leaders within their individual business and the industry.