Ballance awards help shape the next generation of science leaders

Applications are being called for the Ballance Agri-Nutrients scholarships. which provide $4000 a year for up to three years.

The scholarships are open to immediate family members of Ballance shareholders or company employees.

Four scholarships are available to students for study at tertiary level in either the general primary industry field or in process engineering.

Ballance Research and Development Manager, Warwick Catto, said the company is deeply committed to the development of science in New Zealand and science extension, which is about the practical application of new and existing ideas and technology on farm.

“New Zealand scientists develop world-leading capabilities in agricultural technology, animal health and also food technology. Our economy is intrinsically linked to being efficient with the use of our land and we’re very good at it,” he says.

“We’re looking for tomorrow’s leaders and our scholarships make a real contribution. Our primary industries need high quality people who work hard to solve very real world problems – both today in our fields and paddocks and also in the future.”

More than 60 students have benefited from the Ballance scholarship programme since 2002.

One of the previous recipients was Hamilton-based Peter West who is now part of Fonterra’s business graduate programme, working with the co-operative’s commercial business performance reporting.

Mr West completed an Honours Degree in Agricultural Science in 2012 from Lincoln University and says the scholarship enabled him to focus on what was important.

“The Ballance scholarship reduced the financial pressure of being a student. Not having to work part-time enabled me to spend more time focusing on my studies,” says Mr West.

“Leaving university relatively debt free also places you in a much better position to get stuck in and achieve your goals quicker.”

A Ballance scholarship not only helped Calvin Ball graduate with an Honours Degree in Agricultural Science from Massey University in Palmerston North but enabled him to gain valuable work experience with the co-operative during his holidays.

“It was paid work that allowed me to experience working with the field consultant team where I was able to get out on the road and talk to farmers and merchants. This gave me a clear idea about what I wanted to do once I graduated and now I’m in a fulltime role with Ballance as their Field Consultant for North Wairarapa,” says Mr Ball.

“Day-to-day my role involves working with farmers to provide them with on-farm support including fertiliser and nutrient recommendations, soil testing and nutrient budgeting advice. I now have my own area and set of customers, and without the scholarship I doubt I would be where I am today.”

Applications for the Ballance scholarship opened on 1 September and close on 28 October.

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