Matthew Champness

Agriculture Scholar


I wish to study the ways in which we can turn waste products from one enterprise into value for another. To feed 10 billion people by 2050, we must make radical, transformational changes to the food system. A key component to achieving a food secure world is the elimination of wastage; food, energy and water. Shifting from a standalone entity mindset to a circular economy mindset will drive efficiency in use of raw materials and land, thereby improving profitability and reducing negative environmental impact. I wish to collaborate with entrepreneurial leaders from within and from outside the agricultural sector, learning about how different sectors can work together to increase efficiencies.  

I wish to gain exposure to circular economies in the Netherlands. With a population of only 17 million and area 1/185th the size of Australia, the Netherlands is the second biggest food exporter in the world, with more than 3 times the value of Australian food exports. With the world leading agri-food university and a national commitment to producing twice the food using half the resources, Australia has a lot to learn from the Dutch.  

As the driest inhabited continent on earth, Australia’s most limiting resource is water, so recycling and better water use efficiency would go a long way in growing the agricultural sector. Israel is a standout performer in this field, leading the world in water recycling- a staggering 80%, with the highest crop output per water unit in the world. I therefore believe this is an ideal location to investigate how we can use technology to increase global water use efficiency in agricultural production.

I have one simple ambition in life; to live in a world where everyone has access to sustainably produced, safe, nutritious and affordable food. Unfortunately, this is a long way off, but playing a part in achieving this is certainly a long-term goal of mine. To do this, we must make science-based, rather than emotionally driven decisions. I have recently graduated with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons I) and am passionate about continuing a research-based career to increase food production efficiency and sustainability.  

I don’t believe in planning a lifetime career, as the agriculture industry is advancing that rapidly it is hard to predict what jobs will be out there in 20 years. However, I believe in equipping myself to adapt to the changing nature of the industry,  hence continued professional development and networking will put me in good stead for a successful, rewarding career in the industry.  

Leighton Smith Legacy

Leighton Smith Legacy

Matthew’s scholarship journey has been made possible with the generous donation from Rosemary Filewood, wife of the late Leighton Smith, who came to Australia as a young man with the Big Brother Movement youth migration scheme.

BBM Youth Support and the BBM Global Industry Scholarships are built on the foundation of the Big Brother Movement, and our heritage lives on in our agricultural scholarships. Leighton dedicated his life to farming, and through this scholarship his legacy lives on to contribute to a future without hunger through sustainable agriculture.

Leighton Smith

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