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Ballance scholarships acknowledge potential

Media release for immediate use

14 March 2008

Ballance scholarships acknowledge potential

The professional efforts of five young agricultural students have received a timely boost in the form of cash scholarships from Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

The recipients, all in fulltime study at universities, have been selected because of their proven commitment to the rural sector, and their potential to advance the interests of rural communities.

‘They had to get through a tough selection process,’ says Warwick Catto, Head of Agro-Sciences at Ballance.

‘We weren’t just looking at what they might achieve at university. These scholarships are all about putting something back into rural communities, and we chose these five because of their exciting potential to add value to the sector as graduates.’

The 2008 scholarships are worth $4,000 a year, for up to three years. Ballance has awarded 35 similar scholarships since 2002, and now employs two previous scholarship recipients fulltime, while several others have worked at Ballance on a contract basis.

The 2008 recipients are:
Jeremy Clayton is studying for a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln University. He has amassed considerable practical farm experience, working on his parents’ dairy farm near Cambridge and also on a large-scale dairy farm near Ashburton. He also manages a lifestyle block for some elderly neighbours.

Alex Opie is the winner of the engineering scholarship offered by Ballance. He is studying for a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical/Electronic) at Canterbury University, and intends to pursue post-graduate studies in an area that contributes to the sustainability of energy sources. As well as working on his family’s sheep and beef farm in Te Kuiti, Alex, an A+ student, has spent time as a presser in a shearing gang.

Jeremy O’Reilly is studying for a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln University. He grew up on his family’s dairy farm at Tirau, and has relief milked for other dairy farmers in the district. Jeremy would like to work in the wider agricultural industry, perhaps as a scientist or as a farm consultant, before going farming.

<> Diana Selbie comes from Five Rivers, Southland, where her family runs a sheep and beef farm. She is studying for a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln University. As well as working on the family farm, Diana has spent time on other farm types, including a dairy farm and vineyard. As a graduate, Diana would like to work in the agricultural industry, perhaps as a fertiliser rep.

Simon Topham grew up on a dairy farm near Invercargill. As well as helping out on the home farm, Simon has worked for other dairy farmers, and has also worked as part of a shearing gang to help fund his studies Simon is studying for a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) at Lincoln and intends to continue working in the dairy industry, with the ultimate goal of running his own farm.

In addition to these five scholarships, Ballance has made a special award to Sam Kane, who completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Lincoln University in 2000, then went on to undertake a Masters of Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois.

In the past five years he has worked for the FAO and World Bank as a consultant, and for Mercy Corps International in Mongolia and Africa. He now works as a farm manager in Wanaka and was awarded a place on the 2008 Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme. Ballance has provided Sam with a special scholarship to support the research that he will undertake as part of the Kellogg programme.


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