Scholarships help young pair advance education

Mac Williams, of Jacksons on the West Coast, has won a 2021 New Zealand Young Farmers World...
Mac Williams, of Jacksons on the West Coast, has won a 2021 New Zealand Young Farmers World Congress Charitable Trust Scholarship. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
West Coast student veterinarian Mac Williams has been named one of two recipients of the 2021 New Zealand Young Farmers World Congress Charitable Trust Scholarship.

The other is Otautau Fonterra Farm Source sales specialist Kimberly Thomas (23), who has used the funds to enrol in a sustainable nutrient management course with Massey University.

Mr Williams (18), from Jacksons on the West Coast has headed to Palmerston North to begin his first year studying veterinary science.

The former St Bede’s College student was crowned the 2020 FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year alongside his team-mate Jack Coakley.

Interested in animal biology, nutrition and embryo imports, he dreams of becoming a large animal vet.

"I love the rural lifestyle, working outdoors with people and animals, and the productive yet peaceful atmosphere of farming in New Zealand," he said.

Having a passion for livestock and agriculture, he purchased his first cow at 10 years old and has since grown his enterprise to lease 60ha of land and turned over 30 cattle this season.

Keen to learn about animal production, how vets could help farmers reach high levels of output and improve on-farm relationships, he said was all beneficial to the productivity and profitability of the agriculture industry.

"In order to keep this industry strong, we need to ensure we optimise animal productivity through farming practices which are innovative, sustainable, and efficient.

"Veterinarians work side by side with farmers to implement health plans which ensure healthy, disease-free stock, ensure optimum nutrition, promote growth rates and productivity, and contribute to biosecurity."

For Ms Thomas, a Thornbury Young Farmer, it was to develop a more in-depth range of technical knowledge to support farmers in the modern-day ever-changing world.

Having already completed a certificate in land-based sustainability practices with SIT, she was looking forward to studying with Massey remotely and continuing her career development with Fonterra Farm Source.

"This is really important to me because it allows me to not only continue the relationships I have built with farmers in my district, but also adds value to them and builds on myself for the future," Ms Thomas said.

The World Congress Charitable Trust scholarships are now in their 47th year and have contributed to more than 100 Young Farmer members’ educations over that time.

This scholarship’s for Young Farmer members who are currently or intending to study agriculture or agriculturally related topics.

The two university scholarships are worth $1500 each and were started with funds remaining from the 1965 World Congress of Young Farmers, which was formed into a trust in 1969.

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