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Government Awards Primary Sector Scholarships To Students


Hon Todd McClay

Minister of Agriculture

Hon Andrew Hoggard

Associate Minister of Agriculture

Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers.

“The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says.

“We’re backing a range of initiatives to grow the capacity and capability of the primary industry advisory sector, which is vital to supporting farmers to adapt, change, and thrive.

“As part of that, we have awarded six scholarships, worth a total of $30,000, to students studying agricultural science, or environmental science, degrees.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our economy, with revenue from food and fibre sector exports forecast to generate $54.3 billion in the year to 30 June 2024.”

Three Massey University students; Ffion White, Katya de Silva, and Nerissa Edwards, and three Lincoln University students; Jed McCready, Kate Sheehy, and Laura Heads have received the $5,000 scholarships for the 2024 study year.

Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard said 43 applications were received for the On Farm Support Science Scholarships.

“It’s truly heartening to see both the number and calibre of applicants who applied for these scholarships. It is the first time they have been offered,” Andrew Hoggard says.

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“The six successful scholarship recipients have a passion for food and fibre production and a genuine interest in joining the primary industries advisory sector. “The coalition Government wants to ensure we make farming an attractive career option for young people again.

“Farmers and growers have had to navigate challenging conditions in recent years and the advisory sector plays an important role in supporting their success.”

Massey and Lincoln universities were chosen because they have well-established agricultural and horticultural science programmes with a long-standing tradition of producing primary sector advisers.

Note to editors:

Biographies on each of the successful scholarship recipients can be found below.

Name: Ffion White.

University: Massey.

Degree: Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

Lives: Bulls, Manawatū.

Background: Ffion helped farm managers and their staff deliver intensive winter grazing plans as part of a fixed term job/internship with the Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation. The experience fuelled her commitment to be a farm adviser.

Name: Katya de Silva.

University: Massey.

Degree: Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

Lives: Palmerston North, Manawatū.

Background: Katya is from an urban background but has sought a broad range of farming experience, including future internships with a farm adviser. She was top of her class two years running.

Name: Nerissa Edwards.

University: Massey.

Degree: Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

Lives: Hokowhitu, Manawatū.

Background: Nerissa has a particular interest in precision agriculture, soils, and agricultural sustainability. She has a strong community focus with activities such as Riding for the Disabled.

Name: Jed McCready.

University: Lincoln.

Degree: Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

Lives: West Melton, Canterbury.

Background: Jed has an interest in soil science and has developed a small business baling hay and reseeding pasture for lifestyle blocks. The venture has helped him develop good interpersonal skills working with clients.

Name: Kate Sheehy.

University: Lincoln.

Degree: Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science).

Lives: Somerfield, Canterbury.

Background: Kate’s motivation to pursue a career in the advisory sector stems from her time as a Jobs for Nature supervisor at WAI Wānaka. Her aim is to help farmers implement sustainable practices.

Name: Laura Heads.

University: Lincoln.

Degree: Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

Lives: Waimumu, Southland.

Background: Laura has strong community involvement through her leadership roles within agricultural clubs and is looking forward to gaining experience within the sheep, beef, and dairy sectors.

What is On Farm Support?

MPI established On Farm Support in 2022. The regionally based service connects farmers and growers to government resources, advice, extension services, and learning and funding opportunities. It has advisers providing on-the-ground support and assistance in 10 regions.

The team works closely with industry organisations, private consultants, regional councils, and the national science providers to ensure farmers have consistent and evidence-based information to help them navigate complex challenges, seize opportunities, and enhance their overall performance.

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