Strict hygiene standards on dairy farms will be an important part of long-term export market protection, say award-winning Waikato farmers Adrian and Pauline Ball.
For the first time scholarship applications will be open to all New Zealand secondary school students, including the families of Ballance shareholders, in a bid to encourage more urban students to recognise the diverse professions and opportunities in agribusiness.
Ballance Agri-Nutrients chief executive, Mark Wynne, says there's much more to agribusiness than farming and fertiliser.
"There is a wealth of opportunities, not just on farms and in farm advisory roles, but across many professions from food science through to patent law, accounting and chemical engineering. We want to attract talented and curious minds from every field of study so our agribusiness sector continues to lead the world in best practice and innovation," says Wynne.
"As the agribusiness sector evolves we need fresh thinking from the next generation to help come up with new ways to do things more efficiently and produce more from less in a sustainable manner."
There are four scholarships on offer, each valued at $4,000 for up to three years, and they are open to any secondary students looking to commence university study next year.
A key driver behind the scholarships is Ballance's aim to support innovation at the tertiary level while developing and investing in a diverse range of agribusiness leaders from the next generation.
Wynne says that there is a real need for the agribusiness sector to address succession planning on a broad scale, especially in light of the fact that by 2025 the New Zealand agricultural industry will require an additional 50,000 people over and above replacement levels.
"Addressing this need requires support from across the entire sector, and it begins by attracting talented, passionate people who see a vision for themselves and our country's economic future within agribusiness."
More than 77 students have benefitted from the Ballance scholarship programme since 2002.
Applications for Ballance scholarships are open now October 30, 2016. For more information please visit www.ballance.co.nz/Our-CoOp/Our-Community/Scholarships