Building the future of food and farming

Building the future of food and farming

Fifteen students from across Tasmania have been awarded 16 scholarships totalling $224,000 to study agriculture at the University of Tasmania.

Acting Director of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) Professor Ted Lefroy said highlyskilled agricultural graduates were in demand in Tasmania and around the world.

“More than ever before, agriculture is central to Australia’s contribution to the world,” said Professor Lefroy.

“We need to sustain a growing population with safe, sustainable and profitable food and fibre production.

“And we need to do it under harsher environmental conditions.

“That challenge is why so many of the world’s smartest people are drawn to the science behind agribusiness, and the demand is so high for our students, many of them have job offers before they even graduate.

“TIA and our industry partners give University of Tasmania agriculture students practical, realworld experience.

“The scholarships awarded are equipping the next generation to reinvent the family farm, prevent disease outbreaks, boost rural finance or improve crop yields in the developing world.”

Holly Coad from Cygnet was the recipient of the Graeme Tole Memorial Scholarship in Agricultural Science.

This $4000 award will assist Holly, who is in the first year of her degree, to perhaps pursue her honours or even a PhD down the track.

“It has not only inspired, but motivated me to work a little harder and accomplish my academic goals,” said Holly.

Holly grew up on the family beef cattle farm, which, she says inspired an interest in agricultural science.

“Being able to work with the land has enabled me to establish an interest in agriculture,” said Holly.

“Our rural lifestyle makes me want to work in an industry that is continuously changing and challenging, and agriculture does just that.” Holly’s main interests lie in sustainability and education.

“The agricultural industry is commonly negatively viewed,” said Holly.

“It’s not until you become involved and see that these farmers treat their farm, whether it be livestock or cropping, the best way that they can, as its their way of generating a profit.

“It is important to educate people about where their food comes from, to support local farmers that are doing it tough, and be aware that agriculture doesn’t just support the farmers, but the economy, society and the environment too.”

Holly loves Tasmania and is passionate about the future of the agriculture industry, but she is also keen to see how the rest of the world is employing new technology to improve food production.

“Agriculture is an international industry, so I hope it will take me elsewhere to explore different practices of farming, because there are always multiple ways to complete one job - finding the most efficient and applying it to the land is the key,” said Holly.

She sees agricultural science as an important tool in combatting the effects of climate change on the globe.

“Climate change heavily affects not only efficiency, but production of food,” said Holly. “Agricultural science is extremely important in the way sustainable farming and biotechnology is used to maintain the environment, as, without the environment, there is no food.

“Increasing global food production by 70 per cent to feed the predicted nine to 10 billion people by 2050 is a massive challenge that lays in our hands.

“Not only producing, but distributing food and managing waste is another challenge that climate change influences, which is frightening, but fascinating in the way it will be improved.

“Without agricultural science, there will be no beneficial developments to enable the industry to continue to grow, to ensure food security and be able to adapt to the consequences of climate change.”

Holly said that she is extremely grateful to the Tole family for their generous scholarship, as well as her family, who have been so supportive.

“With their guidance and nurturing, I have been able to take risks to go above and beyond what I really thought I was capable of,” said Holly.

“I’d also like to acknowledge and thank Leslie Irvine, Samantha Flight and the dairy extension team of the TIA, who allowed me to conduct work experience with them in 2016.

“Still having continuous contact with them today has allowed doors to be open towards a potential future career path, which I aspire towards,” concluded Holly.

PICTURED: Holly at home on the farm with the family’s Hereford bull. (PS)