Sights set on experience

The 2018 Greenham Agritas Scholarship has been awarded to South Forest local Stephanie Cowley, 20. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

Education. A scholarship will take Stephanie Cowley, of South Forest, deeper into her research of technology in agriculture.

As the recipient of the 2018 Greenham Agritas Scholarship, Stephanie says she hopes to develop her knowledge during an exchange experience this year before returning home to implement her learning.

The 20-year-old was awarded the $12,000 scholarship at Agritas Trade College on Monday which will contribute to university costs and other non-paid work placements.

Planning a two-week study tour of Japan later this year, Stephanie will gain insight into the international market including beef production and meat science with visits to local beef producers, abattoirs, forage farms and cattle stations.

A proud Tasmanian with strong New Zealand heritage, Stephanie’s parents Chris and Suzanne moved to Tasmania in 1996 where they began sharefarming before developing a herd of 360 Jersey Friesian cross.

Stephanie’s interest in dairy and agriculture was piqued in her teens as she began to understand the intricacies of the family business and how it is connected to the wider economy and international market.

Now in her second year studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Stephanie is keeping her options open by concentrating on chemistry, botany, microbiology, animal science as well as cropping, beef production, technology, agricultural business and economics.

“I obviously haven’t got to the pointy end of my degree yet but I definitely know that utilising new technology will form a big part of what I take away from university,” she says.

“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.

“One of the really exciting things will be the use of both precision ‘ag’ and drones for mapping things like pasture growth, dam levels or crop health.”

With the milk price downturn in recent years, Stephanie has witnessed first-hand the challenges that price squeezes bring and is determined to find other ways to control outcomes on a dairy property. Additionally, she picked up on these and other themes during a gap year working at the local Murray Goulburn facility.

Upon the completion of her degree, Stephanie says she hopes to apply her knowledge to the family operation.

The Greenham Agritas Scholarship is assessed by a panel of four independent judges and considers 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 might be in helping the applicant realise their ambitions.

In congratulating Stephanie, Greenham Tasmania managing director Peter Greenham said the company’s desire is to encourage future leaders in the industry.

“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.”

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