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Bursary boost for young farmers

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

For Alicia Wilkinson, studying agriculture after finishing school was a no brainer coming from a Masterton deer farm. But like any university student, loaded with course fees, accommodation costs and living expenses, any financial support was welcomed.

Miss Wilkinson was one of two recipients of the South Wairarapa Young Farmers club tertiary bursary in January last year.

This year the club has opened entries for a $1500 tertiary bursary, three times that awarded to Miss Wilkinson, to any Wairarapa resident enrolled to study agriculture at a tertiary level anywhere in the country.

After finishing her last year at Wairarapa College, Miss Wilkinson, 19, was set to study a Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce degree at Massey University in Palmerston North.

She received $500 from the club to go towards her course fees, and said for anyone interested in applying this year to ‘just give it a go.’

“I had so many expenses last year because I was in the halls, so the $500 did go quick,” she said.

“I spent it all on textbooks.”

Miss Wilkinson, who is also part of the Massey University Young Farmers club, hopes after completing her three-year degree to go into rural banking.

“I want to be in the office but also be able to travel around.”

South Wairarapa Young Farmers Club chairman Brodie Nicholls is happy to give this year’s recipient a boost in funds to help them along the way.

Mre Nicholls said this is the second year the club has offered the bursary and he is hoping this year to get more applicants than last year’s six.

“[We are] looking for someone with a passion to stay in the agriculture industry and has the drive to improve it.

“This year we did seven or eight silage stacks on various dairy farms, with all the proceeds fundraised going to the bursary.

Mr Nicholls said the amount offered depends on how much can be fundraised, but hope to stick around the $2000 mark each year.

The bursary is for course fees only, and is to encourage young farmers interested in studying agriculture.

Mr Nicholls hopes that the bursary will not only motivate students but will promote the South Wairarapa young Farmers club too.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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