Agricultural sector is a many-splendoured thing

01:00, Nov 28 2012

I have recently been giving a great deal of thought to the intergenerational aspect of farming.

The farmers I meet are more often than not from a multi-generational farming background, but these days agri-business and agri-science careers are attracting people from long-established farming families.

My daughter, Natasha, is an agri-business manager for Meridian, a company competing for supply to farmers and constantly striving to come up with the best possible business solutions.

Her knowledge of the ebbs and flows of demand within the industry allows her to put together successful proposals for the company.

While Natasha comes from a family farming background, she has gone far beyond anything her "old man" would or could aspire to, and now she has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship.

This scholarship will allow Natasha to research the better utilisation and management of dairy effluent and explore its potential as an energy source.


This is leading-edge research and development of a kind that is taking place in a number of countries.

The Nuffield Scholarship provides wonderful opportunities for bright minds and highlights the diverse range of farming-related career paths the scholarship can open up for successful recipients.

The average farmer may not be able to go there, yet ultimately the results will help provide all farmers with knowledge, networks and support.

At this time I also offer congratulations to Lisa Harper, who has become Marlborough's first Nuffield Scholarship recipient.

Lisa is considering using her scholarship to look at how to encourage a greater level of innovation in rural business and the identification of some of the road blocks that might be preventing businesses from taking their ideas further.

Coupled with Natasha's recent success, Lynnette and I have a granddaughter, Victoria, studying towards an applied science degree at Lincoln University and between semesters she is working on a dairy farm in Ashburton.

Our other daughter, Laura, has taken up an account cadetship with KPMG and has found her niche in the farming and agriculture sector too.

Her enthusiasm is for farming accountancy and taxation law.

An interesting recent example of how even basic farming knowledge can help in such a job came up recently.

Laura was working with a chartered accountant dealing with a farmer's assets.

The regular accountant came across a grubber and couldn't determine whether it was an asset or a sundry item.

It was a matter of understanding the equipment, its value and assessing it properly - with a value of $20,000 it was an asset rather than sundry.

This simple example points to the need for practical knowledge and the variety of opportunities available to young people in the agricultural sector.

All of which makes this dad and granddad a very proud person.

The Marlborough Express