Progressing through opportunity
by Ann van Engelen
Rhiannon Whelan received a DairyNZ undergraduate scholarship through her interest in dairying, undertaking an agricultural-related degree at Lincoln University.
In her last year of study, Rhiannon has accepted a position through the ANZ New Zealand graduate programme.
“I am in my last semester, and the DairyNZ scholarship has helped cover my course fees. You get a lot of mentoring and working opportunities as well as the chance to network with other students,” says Rhiannon.
“I grew up in a farming community and have always been aware of the issues surrounding farming and had an interest in the management of different systems. After leaving school, I travelled to Wales and Germany to work on dairy farms and attended conferences and discussion groups surrounding the industry. I began to understand how highly regarded the New Zealand dairy industry is internationally and wanted to further my knowledge of dairy farming in New Zealand and our trading partners, which lead me to a degree in Agricultural Commerce at Lincoln.
“We have spent a lot of time on farms here with assignments from cropping to sheep, beef and dairy. There is a big difference with the irrigation and land values compared to other parts of the country. I gained cropping experience in Darfield and discovered so much about the different needs of the area.
“There are so many opportunities right here on our back doorstep studying at Lincoln, and you get a lot of exposure. Young people are sought after in many rural professional roles, especially with environmental aspects and farming. The 18-month graduate programme will give me entrance into rural banking. I want to help with the challenge for New Zealand dairy to meet sustainability goals, remain viable at the farm gate and a key player in the world market.”