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Ballance invests in future science talent

14 March 2013

Ballance invests in future science talent


Ballance has made further investments in New Zealand’s science talent pool, awarding four scholarships to students keen to make a difference to farming’s future.


The latest round of scholarships takes the total of Ballance scholarships to 59 and includes a previous winner now engaged in post graduate study.


Tom Woutersen of Cambridge, Thomas Macdonald of Hamilton, Lutte Thys of Invercargill, and Daniel Risi of Cambridge form this year’s Ballance scholarship roll call.

Warwick Catto, Head of Research and Environment at Ballance Agri-Nutrients, says the calibre of applicants rises every year and gives him huge faith in farming’s future.


“Farming needs excellent research and sound science as much as it needs good soil and rain. We have some outstanding young people ready to make their mark and we’re right behind them.”


Tom Woutersen used his first Ballance scholarship to help fund his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science. His second scholarship will help fund his Postgraduate Diploma in agri-business at Waikato University.


Tom is a past winner of the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science Award and has already contributed to agricultural research, working with AgResearch and DairyNZ on major trials around feed and rotary shed milking efficiency during his undergraduate studies.


“I am hoping to combine the business skills I gain in postgraduate studies with my background in science, and apply them to a role within the agricultural sector. Research is important, but even the most ground breaking research will only change the agricultural industry for the better if they are also viable in a business sense. Then we can ensure that the industry’s level of productivity, profitability, and sustainability continues to improve.”


Lutte Thys of Invercargill is working towards a Bachelor of Science with a double major in agricultural and animal science. Science fair projects at school on nitrogen inhibitors and the sustainability of cropping planted a seed which has grown into a passion for research.


“My goal is to be one of New Zealand’s top agricultural research scientists. My science fair projects helped me to realise that there are numerous farming practices that are said to be good or bad without ample research been put into them. This has fuelled my passion to become a scientist and research more enjoyable, economical, sustainable and respectable ways to farm New Zealand by ensuring that the health of the soil and the animals are at its best.”


Thomas Macdonald is studying for a Bachelor of Business Analysis, majoring in agri-business at Waikato University. The keen bassist and member of several New Zealand bands, he sees major opportunities for New Zealand agricultural and its potential to feed the world’s growing population.


“Sustainable agriculture and agribusiness governance really interest me. I believe the development of these key areas will allow agriculture in New Zealand to reach maximum efficiency without compromising environmental performance. Once my studies are completed, I would like to become involved in a New Zealand agribusiness where technology transfer to farmers is key. My ultimate goal is to be involved in farm ownership and agri-business governance.”


Daniel Risi of Cambridge is undertaking a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Natural Resources at Canterbury University. This is his honours year and already his engineering studies have been put to practical use during summer internships. To date he’s helped design a new 60 bail rotary cowshed and effluent pond and gained experience in irrigation canal design.


Last year he worked on the design of a hydro-electric and irrigation scheme for the upper Canterbury plains, achieving tops marks for his assignment.


“My honours project will take this design one step further, developing numerical model to model phosphorus groundwater emissions in the Balmoral forest region if dairy farm conversions take place. This project will also analyse how to maximize land use efficiency on irrigation and dairy farm management by managing resources effectively. This project was designed to help address the issues of peak phosphorous and how the country can better model this fertiliser in a more efficient manner.”


Daniel wants to continue working on irrigation design after graduation and ensuring that the primary sector sustainably with through sound engineering solutions and proper environmental investigation.


ENDS


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