Scholarship to help fund research into labour shortages in the agri-food sector

Posted by on 11 March 2019 | Comments

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A North Otago woman is planning a new research project probing the cause of labour shortages in the agri-food sector.

Emma Subtil, 21, who’s from an Omarama sheep and beef farm, is studying a Masters in Agribusiness at Lincoln University.

She’s just been awarded a $1500 World Congress Charitable Trust Scholarship through NZ Young Farmers.

“I’m really honoured. It means a lot to receive this sort of recognition,” she said.

Scholarship recipient Emma Subtil.Emma plans to use the money to help fund travel costs for research she has to undertake as part of her university studies.

“I’d like to travel around New Zealand examining labour shortages in the primary industries,” she said.

“I’m keen to talk with industry groups and education providers as part of the research.”

“I’m passionate about improving the perception of agriculture and attracting more talented young people into the industry,” she said.

Emma’s parents own a 12,000 hectare property which runs 19,500 merino sheep and 650 beef cattle.

She was drafting ewes when she received a phone call revealing her application for the scholarship had been successful.

“I was so excited. It was just the boost I needed before heading back to university to start my masters,” she said.

Emma joined Lincoln Young Farmers three years ago and even served as the club’s chair and vice-chair.

“The club has been a fantastic way to make friends. I’ve met so many people at university who aren’t in my course,” she said.

Emma was recently elected secretary of NZ Young Farmers’ sprawling Tasman region.

She plans to continue being an inspiration and giving back when she gets a full-time job at the end of the year.

“I’d a like a job that helps improve relationships between people living in urban and rural areas,” she said.

“The opportunities in the primary industries are endless.”

Emma is a former TeenAg member who chaired the club at Rangi Ruru School in Christchurch.

Hannah Nichols, 18, whose family owns a 230 cow dairy farm in Dargaville, also received a $1500 scholarship.

She’s studying a Diploma in Agriculture at Lincoln University and will put the money towards accommodation costs.

The World Congress Charitable Trust was formed in the late ‘80s following a gathering of young farmers’ organisations in Christchurch.

Two university scholarships are awarded annually to NZ Young Farmers members studying agriculture or ag-related subjects.