Teenager Alena Schwartfeger is already an ambassador for New Zealand agriculture as this year's Beef + Lamb New Zealand Telford Agribusiness Scholarship winner.
Now in her second year of study at Lincoln University's Telford campus near Balclutha, she will receive $4000 as the scholarship winner.
The former Hawera High School pupil did not grow up on a farm, but she has always enjoyed the outdoors.
"We had family friends on a farm and I went there to help at weekends and holidays. I really enjoyed going hunting and possum shooting and being in the outdoors. I couldn't imagine myself sitting at a desk from 9 to 5. Farming is so varied and every day is different."
Schwartfeger completed the Certificate in Agriculture at Telford last year and is now studying the Diploma in Rural Business.
"I wanted a better understanding of agriculture, to gain more knowledge and information to help me in the future," she says.
After finishing her diploma, Schwartfeger plans to work initially as a shepherd. "Long term, I'd like to become a farm manager."
Further study for a Lincoln University Diploma in Farm Management is another option she is considering. Her advice to others considering a career in agriculture is to learn as much as possible from as many people as possible.
"If you put the time in, have a willingness to learn and a can-do attitude, then people will be prepared to help you out. Ask lots of questions and give everything a go."
Beef + Lamb Southern South Island Extension Manager Paul McCauley said Schwartfeger was selected for many reasons, but mainly because she was already an ambassador for the sector.
"Alena is clearly committed to a future in agriculture. She is articulate and achieving both academically and outside of her study.
"She is active in the community and doesn't hesitate to help others." Fairfax NZ
More information on Beef + Lamb's scholarships can be found at beeflambnz.com.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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