Vi­sion re­warded

Greenham Schol­ar­ship

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS - KAROLIN MACGRE­GOR

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.

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