Jessica Bensemann

2016 Nuffield Scholar

Jessica grew up on a sheep and beef farm in a remote area of south west Nelson, which was probably a key factor in her desire to pursue opportunities to go and see the world. An interest in what drives people's decision-making led to an Honours degree in Economics and Finance at Victoria University, followed by a Masters in AgriCommerce at Massey University. Jessica's Master’s thesis explored what factors impact sheep farmers decision-making related to how they sell their lambs, and why they do or don't commit to one company. Jessica has worked for Beef & Lamb New Zealand as a Trade Policy Analyst and in the Economic Service. After a stint with Volunteer Services Abroad working with cocoa farmers in Papua New Guinea, Jessica has spent the last few years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as an Agriculture Development Manager in the New Zealand Aid Programme. In 2016, Jessica received a Nuffield scholarship that enabled travel to 20 countries over seven months. Her report provides a challenge to the New Zealand primary industry to determine its kaupapa; the vision for the future. Case studies of how other countries have transformed their agriculture sector are provided based on a clear vision and framework for change.