Ballance scholarships set to secure a bright future


These students are set to bring new skills, direction and innovation to this sector, ensuring that New Zealand’s agricultural future is in good hands.

December 10, 2015

Ballance scholarships set to secure a bright future

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has awarded a total of $48,000 in tertiary study scholarships to six talented students who are aiming to make a positive difference in the primary industries sector.

Warwick Catto, Science Strategy Manager at Ballance Agri-Nutrients, noted the strength of this year’s applicants, saying it was great to see so many high-calibre students intent on pursuing the range of career opportunities available in New Zealand’s primary industries sector.

“There is a strong recognition amongst scholarship applicants of New Zealand’s identity as an exporting nation and the possibilities that holds for students across a range of disciplines.

“These students are set to bring new skills, direction and innovation to this sector, ensuring that New Zealand’s agricultural future is in good hands.”

Ballance handed out scholarships, each valued at $4,000 for up to three years, to Lachlan McKinnon from Matamata, Lauren Woolerton from Taupiri, and Rhys Fitzgerald from Methven.  One-year scholarships were awarded to Louise Ford from Rotorua, Alex Menzies from Omakau, and Steven Upton from Te Aroha.

This year’s scholarships bring the total awarded by the co-operative since 2002 to 77.

Three Year Scholarships

Lachlan McKinnon from Matamata is studying a Bachelor of Management Studies at the University of Waikato, majoring in International Business and Agribusiness. The former Cambridge High School Deputy Head Boy aims to provide consultancy support to New Zealand’s agribusiness interests, both locally and overseas, with a long term goal of taking over his family’s dairy farm.

“As a farmer’s son, I learnt to milk when I was eight, even if it meant I had to stand on a box. As Dad always tells me, the world will always need milk, and I think it’s exciting to see what the future holds for the industry.”


Lauren Woolerton from Taupiri is studying a Bachelor of AgriCommerce at Massey University, majoring in Rural Valuation with a minor in Public Relations. In pursuing a career in the primary industries sector Lauren also aims to become part of the Ballance cadet programme, recognising that the skills, access to networks and opportunities that the co-op provides will better enable her to assist farmers in meeting their daily goals and improve the industry as a whole.

“I am privileged to have been brought up on a dairy farm and this has given me a passion for the industry, the people and the overall agricultural sector.”


Rhys Fitzgerald from Methven is studying a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, majoring in Mechatronics Engineering. A high achieving sportsperson and former Mt Hutt College Head boy, Rhys aims to combine his knowledge of farm processes with robotic solutions to help innovate the industry.

“Living on a farm you see that there are many opportunities for innovation and modernisation, whether to improve efficiency, safety or just to make a task easier. In doing this course of study I intend to be able to use my expertise to design robotic systems which can be easily implemented on farms.”


One Year Scholarships

Louise Ford from Rotorua is studying a Bachelor of Law with Honours and a Bachelor of Science at Waikato University. She is actively involved in the agricultural community as an executive member of the Hamilton City Young Farmers Club and has already gained significant agricultural research experience, through work for AgKnowledge and Avocado New Zealand.

“I hope to use my conjoint degree to improve the environment from the farmer’s perspective. I have practical knowledge of what farming is like and will draw on my studies as well as the guidance of my parents, who were Supreme Winners of the Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environmental Awards in 2015, to make a difference in the industry.”


Alex Menzies from Omakau is studying a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Land, Water and Environment at Lincoln University. After completing her undergraduate degree Alex intends to further her education through a post-graduate degree in agribusiness and either marketing or supply chain management.

“I would like to work in the primary sector using both my science and commerce background to address the rising issues of climate change and world food shortages. I believe New Zealand has great potential to use its resources in addressing these challenges.”


Steven Upton from Te Aroha is studying a Bachelor of Business Analysis, majoring in Agribusiness and Economics at the University of Waikato. In completing his undergraduate degree and progressing onto a Masters degree in agribusiness, Steven aims to work with the agricultural industry to build a network of farmers and transform their farming businesses into world leading operations.

“The New Zealand agriculture industry is growing rapidly resulting in many opportunities. Growing up and being actively involved in my parents’ dairy farm operations has ignited my passion for the New Zealand Agriculture industry. Long term I would like to take over my parents’ agricultural operations and continue to expand and diversify our portfolio worldwide.”

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