A post-graduate agricultural student from Norfolk has been selected to receive a centenary bursary award from the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

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Mid-Norfolk’s farmer’s son James Hill, of Horningtoft, near Dereham, will have 75pc of his course fees paid for his MSc in rural estate management at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester.

He is one of only five postgraduate agricultural students to have been chosen for the award from applications received from across the UK.

The award’s judging panel looked for applicants who were not only excellent academic performers, but were also committed to the future of agriculture. The objective of the award scheme, now in its third year, was to select potential rural leaders of the future, so that the bursary payments will not only help the individual students, but also benefit the agricultural industry at large.

Mr Hill, said: “It’s a tremendous help financially. I want to raise the profile of the agricultural industry through promoting sustainable farming and highlighting its vital role within the British economy. We have the potential to be a major player in feeding the world’s growing population through our scientific and practical expertise. These are challenging times and I am determined to be part of farming’s future.”

Richard Percy, the NFU Mutual chairman, said the Centenary Award scheme aimed to create a long-standing legacy for the future, and highlight the insurer’s commitment to young people and the countryside. He said: “We recognise the crucial role students in agriculture play in the future of the industry.”

The award was open to students who had gained, or were expected to gain, a 2:1 or above in agriculture or a closely related degree, and had been accepted on a Masters or PhD course in agriculture in the UK.

Applications for the award next year will be invited from the start of January 2013 and information about the scheme can be found at www.nfumutual.co.uk

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