Scholar keen to bridge urban-rural divide

Lincoln University student Emma Subtil has been awarded a scholarship through New Zealand Young...
Lincoln University student Emma Subtil has been awarded a scholarship through New Zealand Young Farmers. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Emma Subtil sees the opportunities in the primary industries as "endless''.

And when she completes her masters degree in agribusiness at Lincoln University, she would love a job that helped improve relationships between people living in urban and rural areas.

`If I could get a job in that, I'd be a happy girl,'' she said yesterday.

Miss Subtil (21) was recently awarded a $1500 World Congress Charitable Trust Scholarship through New Zealand Young Farmers.

She planned to use the money to help fund travel costs for research she will undertake as part of her university studies.

The primary sector has been a long-standing passion for Miss Subtil, who grew up on Omarama Station, a 12,000ha property farmed by her parents, Richard and Annabelle, which runs 19,500 merino sheep and 650 beef cattle.

She was particularly keen to improve the perception of agriculture and attract more talented young people into the industry.

She was also interested in doing some research to probe the cause of labour shortages in the agri-food sector, talking with industry groups and education providers as part of the research.

Looking at addressing the problem, it was not about fixing it with a short-term solution such as backpackers or international workers, but how to get Kiwis to fill the deficit, she said.

Miss Subtil was a "huge'' advocate for Young Farmers, saying the organisation had opened "a lot of doors'' for her, and it was also doing good work in the space of rural-urban divide.

A former TeenAg member, she chaired the TeenAg club while boarding at Rangi Ruru Girls' School in Christchurch.

She joined Lincoln Young Farmers three years ago and was recently elected secretary of the organisation's Tasman region.

"The club has been a fantastic way to make friends. I've met so many people at university who aren't in my course,'' she said.

The World Congress Charitable Trust was formed in the late 1980s following a gathering of young farmers' organisations in Christchurch.

Two university scholarships were awarded annually to NZ Young Farmers' members studying agriculture or ag-related subjects.

The other recipient was Hannah Nichols (18), from Dargaville, who is studying a diploma in agriculture at Lincoln.


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