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Canterbury ag-student in Green Agriculture Innovation Awards

South Canterbury ag-student is finalist in Green Agriculture Innovation Award

Twenty-year old University student Genevieve Steven, of Timaru, is the winner of the Viafos Youth Award, putting her in the running against nine other finalists as the supreme award winner of the inaugural Green Agriculture Innovation Awards (GAIA) in New Zealand.

The youngest contender for the award, Ms Steven is in her second year at Lincoln University on a DairyNZ scholarship studying biochemistry, animal sciences, plant sciences, soil science and management papers.

Her ultimate goal is a move into biological farming. “I would like to be an educator and advisor to farmers already using the principles of biological farming, but also take the concept of ‘biological farming’ to those who don’t know much about it. I enjoy the challenge of changing people’s perceptions.”

Ms Stevens’ interest in agriculture and biological farming stems from growing up on the family farm near Timaru and the influence of her parents. In 2011 she attended a Get Ahead Careers Experience Day, which motivated her to start up the Craighead TeenAg Club, encouraging more girls to get involved in agriculture.

While at the Craighead TeenAg Club Genevieve competed in the TeenAg Regional Final event, an annual national competition combining both practical hands-on learning and theoretical components of agriculture. Genevieve is currently on the Lincoln Young Farmers Club Education committee and is helping to set up a liaison programme between young farmers clubs and TeenAg clubs in Christchurch, as well as working with Christchurch Girls and Boy’s High School TeenAg clubs.

Nicole Masters, agro ecologist and spokesperson for the Association of Biological Farmers, says the awards attracted strong nominations across all categories, evidence that Biological Farming practice had gained a strong foothold throughout New Zealand. The supreme winner will be announced at an awards dinner on the 6 August in Rotorua.

All the winners:

Viafos YouthGenevieve Steven, Lincoln University
TM Agricultural InnovationWairarapa Eco Farm, Greytown
Integrity Soils Biological Consultant of the YearRob Flynn, Soil Matters, Amberley
Agrisea DairyBio Farm. (Jamie & Cathy Tait Jamieson) Palmerston North
BioAg PastoralDavid Crutchley, Ranfurly
Ag Solutionz TransitionWilliam Grigg, Blenheim
Soil Food Web ViticultureBruce Nimon, Hastings
Rotorua DC Maori Producer of the YearKono Beverages, Mondo Kpoua
Paddock to PlateLindsay Road, Waipukurau
Biosea HorticulturalWairarapa Eco Farm, Greytown

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