HELPING farmers to adopt and use new technology will be a career aim for this year’s Greenham scholarship winner Stephanie Cowley.
The 20 year-old from South Forest at Circular Head was presented with the $12,000 Greenham Agritas scholarship this week.
After growing up on dairy farms, Miss Cowley is now in her second year of a Bachelor of Agricultural Science course at Charles Sturt University in Wagga.
She is concentrating on chemistry, botany, microbiology and animal science as well as cropping, beef production, technology, agricultural business and economics.
Miss Cowley’s parents Chris and Suzanne moved from New Zealand to Tasmania in 1996 to begin sharefarming.
Since then they have developed their own herd of 360 Jersey-Friesian cross cows.
With the milk price downturn in recent years, Miss Cowley has seen first-hand the difficulties that price squeezes bring and is determined to find other ways to control outcomes on a dairy property.
She also picked up on these and other challenges during a gap year working at the local Murray Goulburn outlet.
“I’m really keen to see new pathways emerge where farmers can get a better picture of their operations, interpret the information and apply new technologies,” Miss Cowley said.
“I obviously haven’t got to the pointy end of my degree yet, but I definitely know that using new technology will form a big part of what I take away from university.”
Miss Cowley said one of the things she is most excited about was the use of both precision agriculture and drones for mapping things such as pasture growth, dam levels and crop health.
On hearing that she had won the scholarship Miss Cowley said she was completely overwhelmed,
“I thought to myself ., ‘oh my goodness’,” she said.
Miss Cowley now intends to use the scholarship funds to undertake a two-week study tour to Japan in mid-2018.
There, she will collaborate with students and staff from Kobe University and Obihiro University, focusing on beef production and meat science with visits to local beef producers, abattoirs, forage farms and cattle complexes.
In addition, the scholarship will also contribute to her university costs and other nonpaid work placements.
Scholarship judge and Redpa cattle producer Paul Saward said Miss Cowley was a worthy recipient.
“Stephanie was able to articulate how important new and emerging technologies will be for agriculture into the future,” he said.
“The judges could all see the excitement Stephanie has for learning and her capacity to be a future leader.”
As well as being a keen netball player, Miss Cowley is also a horse rider and has her horse stabled only minutes away from the university campus.
Greenham Tasmania managing director Peter Greenham said the aim of the scholarship program was to encourage future leaders in agriculture.
“It’s an exciting time to be in Ag and you can see that scholarship winners like Stephanie are keyed into new technologies and applying them to Tasmanian farms,” he said.
The Greenham Agritas Scholarship applications were assessed by a panel of four independent judges from the industry and education sectors.
Criteria include personal and academic achievements, the potential benefits and relevance of the chosen study or career path to the Australian beef and dairy industries and how important the scholarship may be in helping the applicant realise their dreams.