Justin DellaZoppa

Justin DellaZoppa is pioneering change from RDMR’s Regional Leadership Development Program to receiving the $35,000 Nuffield Scholarship.

About Justin’s Journey

Justin DellaZoppa sees big things for potato farming in Australia.

Justin’s property, DellaZoppa Farms in South Australia’s Riverland, produces citrus, shallot, onions, canola seed, wheat, barley, oats – and seed potatoes. He has seen firsthand how effective new technology can be in assisting the growth and development of seed potatoes and mini tubers. 

“Technology can transform agriculture,”


“Given the demographic of farming across Australia, many smallholder farmers are inexperienced with technology making it more difficult for them to adopt technology without support.”


“Technology can spot early symptoms of disease, water stress and soil degradation by reducing the guesswork in farming. Smart agriculture enables crops to reach their full potential without the excessive use of chemicals or water.”

Justin’s 2024 scholarship, supported by Woolworths, will take him to the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Spain, northern France and Belgium.

Justin has seen new tech be demonstrated, but not adopted. He is interested in autonomous disease detection, plant monitoring, robot sprayers, tractors, drones, optical grading lines and cool storage. 

“There is better grading equipment out there that can address labour shortages in Australia, which isn’t being widely used mainly because of the costs.”

Justin looks forward to sharing his research with other growers and engaging across his sector, accelerating the adoption of new ways to optimise potato yields.

Credit: Nuffield Australia

In the vibrant landscape of South Australian agriculture, the RLDP (Rural Leadership Development Program) has cultivated leaders like Justin DellaZoppa, hailing from Waikerie. This case study delves into the transformative journey of Justin, a participant in RLDP, as he earns the prestigious Nuffield scholarship, opening doors to global exploration and innovation for the benefit of Australian farmers.

As part of the RLDP, Justin, a forward-thinking primary producer, has been equipped with the skills and vision to lead change in the agricultural sector. Recognising his potential, Justin has been awarded a $35,000 Nuffield scholarship, a testament to the RLDP’s commitment to nurturing leaders who can make a tangible impact.

Justin’s research focus is on leveraging new technologies to propel the seed potato industry forward and optimise yields. The exploration encompasses autonomous disease detection, plant monitoring, robot sprayers, tractors, drones, optical grading lines, and cool storage. His objective is to bring back insights on how these technologies, adopted overseas, can revolutionise South Australia’s seed potato industry.

The RLDP has played a pivotal role in shaping Justin’s leadership perspective. The program has encouraged participants to think innovatively and consider emerging collaborations as key enablers for growth at the community level. The emphasis on leadership development within RLDP has empowered Justin to identify and pursue opportunities that align with the regions evolving needs.

Justin ‘s interest in drone technology as a tool for agriculture began as a joke, but it evolved into a serious exploration. This showcases not only his openness to innovation but also the RLDP’s role in fostering a culture of creativity and adaptability among its participants. The program instils the confidence to challenge conventional practices and embrace cutting-edge solutions.

A global aspect of the scholarship, Justin, will have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with leading agricultural businesses and research institutions worldwide. This global exposure aligns seamlessly with RLDP’s mission to broaden participants’ perspectives, encouraging them to bring best practices to the local context.

For more than seven decades, Nuffield scholars have been at the forefront of transforming agriculture globally. Justin’s journey, fuelled by the RLDP and now the Nuffield scholarship, positions him as a catalyst for positive change in the South Australian agricultural landscape. His widened knowledge and networks, acquired through the scholarship, will contribute to his capacity to lead not just his business but also his community and the industry at large.

The RLDP’s commitment to leadership development, coupled with the transformative Nuffield scholarship, exemplifies a powerful synergy. Justin’s journey is not just personal growth; it symbolises the ripple effect of investing in agricultural leaders, amplifying their capacity to drive innovation, sustainability, and positive change for Australian farmers.

Justin Dellazoppa Regional Leadership Development Program 2023

Justin Dellazoppa

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