A Lincoln University Young Farmer has been awarded his second Prime Minister’s Scholarship.
George Gill, 21, leaves for China today as part of a group of 15 agricultural students to study agribusiness opportunities between China and New Zealand.
The Lincoln University student is in his third year studying a Bachelor of Land and Property Management, majoring in Rural Valuation.
George was awarded his first Prime Minister’s Scholarship last year where he travelled to Brazil for five weeks during November and December.
He says the visit was eye opening, visiting different universities, farming enterprises and factories.
“They’ve got some impressive large scale beef lots and massive pig farms, all indoors,” he says.
“They work pretty hard over there, there’s a lot of manual labour. They also work smaller especially their dairy farms where they milk about 16 cows and do it pretty hard in their villages.”
Being able to witness first-hand the country’s agribusiness operations and compare it to New Zealand put things in perspective for him.
“Health and safety over there isn’t really a thing. The systems we have in New Zealand are years and years advanced, our systems and regulations and also the environmental side of it how as a country we’re working towards sustainable farming,” he says.
“Because I’ve been exposed to that it makes me appreciate New Zealand and what we have here, and that it’s actually quite special what New Zealand is doing in our agribusiness.”
“I came back and I was more passionate about agribusiness in New Zealand and I actually want to put my input in the future, to carry on improving sustainability and farming.”
Drawing on his trip last year, he’s looking forward to spending five weeks in the Southwest province of China, in Yunnan.
As a businessman, he’s interested to learn how systems work in China, one of New Zealand’s biggest export markets.
“As we all know the Chinese are very good at business so I’m pretty keen to learn more about how that operates.”
Exploring different enterprises and import and export ideas is also something he hopes to bring home and further his passion for agribusiness.
It’s not just the business side of the trip he’s excited for though, he says.
“I love Asian food so I’m looking forward to the cuisine side of it and then to learn about their unique culture.”
The Western Southland boy originally from Tuatapere grew up on a sheep and beef farm before heading to boarding school in Invercargill at Southland Boys High School.
George served as the Chair of the Lincoln University Young Farmers Club for 2019 and is a Tasman Regional Finalist in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest.
It was his first time competing at district finals and says he was surprised to make it through.
“I was never expecting to get through to regionals at all, I was just going to do non-competitive and I was going to wait till I was a bit older to give the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest a good crack but here I am,” he says.
He will compete at the regional final in March against 8 other contestants hoping to make it to the Grand Final.
Keep reading other articles from the same authors and about the same topics.