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21 February 2017
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Ballance scholarships set to secure a bright future

In total we have awarded $54,000 in tertiary study scholarships to six talented students who are committed to the future success of our primary industries sector.

For the first time our scholarship applications were open to all New Zealand secondary school students this year, including the families of Ballance shareholders, in a bid to encourage more urban students to recognise the diverse professions and opportunities in agribusiness.

Ballance Chief Executive, Mark Wynne, says opening up the scholarship criteria attracted 40 more applications than last year from students studying a large cross-section of disciplines.

“Our intention was to attract talented and curious minds from every field of study so our agribusiness sector continues to lead the world in best practice and innovation, so it’s been very rewarding to see the calibre and diversity of applicants that have come through,” says Mr Wynne.

He says sustainability was a common theme across applications, with students very much aware of the environmental issues impacting the agricultural sector.

“As the agribusiness sector evolves we need fresh thinking from the next generation to help come up with new ways to do things more efficiently and produce more from less in a sustainable manner. It’s exciting to know that New Zealand’s agricultural future is in such good hands.”

Ballance handed out scholarships, each valued at $4,000 for up to three years, to Jack Arthurs-Schoppe from Pukekohe, Emma Smith from Tauranga, Tessa Smith from Kapuni, and Lucy Hewitt from Pahiatua. One-year scholarships were awarded to Gabriel O’Callaghan from Kaitaia and Peter O’Connor from Westport.

This year’s scholarships bring the total awarded by the co-operative since 2002 to 83.

Three Year Scholarships

Jack Arthurs-Schoppe from Pukekohe is studying a Bachelor of Science with a major in ecology and minor in agriculture, at Massey University. After completing his degree, Jack plans to obtain a masters in the field of agriculture so he can pursue his passion for preserving New Zealand’s natural environment.

“As a nation who is dependent on its natural resources for many of its most lucrative industries such as agriculture and tourism, it is of utmost importance to the continuation of New Zealand’s economic success to introduce sustainable practices into all areas of the agricultural industry.”

Emma Simpson from Tauranga is this year embarking on a Bachelor of AgriScience degree, majoring in horticulture, at Massey University. Following her studies, Emma’s vision is to work alongside likeminded people to develop strains of plants, nutrients and supplements that require minimal intervention and are in line with good economic growing practices.

“I am particularly enthusiastic about understanding bio-diversity, re-plants, and animal nutrition and how they can benefit supplements, and manage soils, water and other resources within the environment to meet the demands of supply with quality.”

Tessa Smith from Kapuni is studying a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours at the University of Canterbury and is one of two recipients of an engineering scholarship Ballance has awarded this year. Having grown up on a dairy farm next door to the Kapuni ammonia urea plant, the former Stratford High School student is keen to work within the agriculture or gas industries after she graduates.

“I would love to work in either of these industries as I have been exposed to them my whole life and they’ve played a massive part in my upbringing.”

Lucy Hewitt from Pahiatua is studying a Bachelor of Agribusiness and Food Marketing at Lincoln University. Lucy is aware that the primary sector is becoming increasingly commercialised and technology-focused so intends to work for a major New Zealand agricultural business after completing her degree.

“At the end of the day farmers want to be able to work quickly and efficiently, so effective technology is important for allowing them to get out and do what they do best.”

One Year Scholarships

Gabriel O’Callaghan from Kaitaia is studying a Bachelor of Engineering at Massey University and was one of two recipients of the engineering scholarships awarded by Ballance this year. Gabriel is particularly interested in exploring ways that the amount of nitrogen in New Zealand’s waterways can be decreased.

“If a fertiliser product could be developed so that the nitrogen was attracted to soil particles or the product itself, then release nitrogen at the rate at which pasture can use it, there would be little to no waste of nitrogen through leaching. This would ultimately decrease the amount of nitrogen found in both the ground and river water.”

Peter O’Connor from Westport has this year begun a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Lincoln University. After completing his degree, the former St Bede’s College prefect aims to gain the experience and finances he needs to fulfil a life-long ambition of owning his own farm.

“I have a passion for agriculture that started as a young boy who went out on our family farm with my dad since before I can remember. I love the challenges that come with agriculture, and I believe I have the drive and vision to help New Zealand’s agriculture industry be the best in the world.”