Applications have opened for six scholarships that are being offered to students studying agriculture and horticulture at Massey and Lincoln universities to help boost the number of advisers providing on-the-ground support to farmers and growers.
"Farmers, growers, and whenua Māori owners are operating in an increasingly complex environment. These new scholarships will help grow the advisory sector’s ability to provide specialised on-the-ground support and advice," says the Ministry for Primary Industries' director of On Farm Support John Roche.
"Six scholarships, worth $5,000 each, are on offer for the 2024 academic year to students enrolled in relevant 3 or 4-year degree courses.
"We’re seeking applications from students with a genuine interest in joining the agricultural and horticultural advisory sectors.
"These scholarships are one of the initiatives being implemented by MPI to grow the capacity and capability of the primary industry advisory sector.
"That includes the Careers Pathway Scheme, which is already providing financial support to independent advisory companies and whenua Māori entities to hire and train new primary industry advisers."
Massey and Lincoln are the 2 highest-ranked universities for the primary industries in Aotearoa New Zealand.
"The scholarship programme will help build on our strong reputation for producing skilled graduates who are well-equipped to contribute to the success of New Zealand’s food and fibre sector," says Lincoln University’s deputy vice-chancellor student life Damian Lodge.
"The scholarships will ease some of the financial pressure students face while they are studying full-time."
Successful applicants will also receive mentoring and development opportunities from MPI.
"I’m sure many of our students will take up this exciting opportunity, with the long-term aim to follow this critical career pathway," says Massey University’s head of agriculture Professor Paul Kenyon.
"Farm advisers provide a crucial support to farmers to improve business performance, both economically and environmentally.
"The profession is a rewarding split between boots on the ground out in an orchard or paddock and office-related tasks such as preparing budgets, reports, or advice."
Applications for the MPI On Farm Support science scholarships are open and will close on 22 November 2023.
Successful recipients will be chosen by an evaluation panel made up of representatives from across MPI.
Further information, including how to apply, is available on MPI’s here.