Hopeful veterinarian and sustainability supporter awarded NZ Young Farmers’ Scholarship

Posted by Erin Speedy on 10 February 2021 | Comments

A hopeful veterinarian and a young woman who has her heart set on supporting farmers have been named as the recipients of the 2021 New Zealand Young Farmers’ World Congress Charitable Trust Scholarship.

Mac Williams, 18, from Jacksons on the West Coast would be heading to Palmerston North to begin his first year studying veterinary science.

Otautau Fonterra Farm Source sales specialist Kimberly Thomas, 23, used the funds to enrol in a sustainable nutrient management course with Massey University.

Williams, a former St Bede’s College student was crowned the 2020 FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year alongside his teammate (see more here).

Interested in animal biology, nutrition and embryo imports, he dreams of becoming a large animal vet.

“I love the rural lifestyle, working outdoors with people and animals, and the productive yet peaceful atmosphere of farming in New Zealand,” he said.

With a passion for livestock and agriculture, he purchased his first cow at ten years old and has since grown his enterprise to lease 60 hectares of land and turned over 30 cattle this season.

Keen to learn about animal production, how vets could help farmers reach high levels of output and improve on farm relationships, he said is all beneficial to the productivity and profitability of the agriculture industry.

“In order to keep this industry strong, we need to ensure we optimise animal productivity through farming practices which are innovative, sustainable, and efficient.”

“Veterinarians work side by side with farmers to implement health plans which ensure healthy, disease free stock, ensure optimum nutrition, promote growth rates and productivity, and contribute to biosecurity.”

Meanwhile Thornbury Young Farmer, Kimberly Thomas wanted to develop a more in-depth range of technical knowledge to support farmers in an everchanging world.

Having already completed a certificate in land-based sustainability practices with SIT, she was looking forward to studying with Massey remotely and continuing her career development with Fonterra Farm Source.

“This is really important to me because it allows me to not only continue the relationships I have built with farmers in my district, but also adds values to them and builds on myself for the future,” she said.

“Farmers are resilient, innovative and work tirelessly to produce the highest quality food and fibre products for our place and the world. I want to commit myself to helping them make it happen in a way that will benefit the future.”

“My aim is to build my technical knowledge for agriculture and sustainability in order to enable me to support farmers, guide them through changes, empower their own decisions and help tell their story to build better relationships that may reduce the urban/rural divide.

New Zealand’s unique relationship and interdependence between Rural and Urban communities could be our greatest strength in a world of diversity and growth.”

The cash scholarship would be used to pay for total cost of the course, and she said she was incredibly grateful.

“To be recognised as a worthwhile investment to our community gives me even more pride and drive in my ambition and values.”

The World Congress Charitable Trust scholarships are now in their 47th year and have contributed to more than 100 Young Farmer member’s educations in that time.

This scholarship’s for Young Farmer members who are currently or intending to study agriculture or agriculturally related topics. 

The two University Scholarships are worth $1500.00 each and were started with funds remaining from the 1965 World Congress of Young Farmers which was formed into a Trust in 1969.