Kristen Kay will use her trip to Colorado to benefit the Tasmanian beef industry.
The 29-year-old from Edith Creek will fill a career dream when she takes off to the USA next year with the help of the $12,000 Greenham Agritas Scholarship.
The winner of this year’s scholarship, Miss Kay has a firm goal in mind to enhance the productivity and quality of Tasmanian beef herds through specialising in genetics.
Raised on a family farm at Circular Head, Miss Kay has gained work experience both there and at neighbouring properties as a farm hand both casually, and full-time.
“Our family farm runs over two properties, one of 120 hectares at Edith Creek and the second is 80hectares at Roger River,” she said.
“The land had always operated as a dairy farm, but was converted to beef about 15 years ago and is now run by my father, Kerry, as a fattening operation for Greenham.”
Currently in her second year of her three-year Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) course at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Miss Kay’s dream is to breed her own prime Hereford stock.
It was in her first trip overseas to Canada in 2008-2010 in which she became interested in pursing the career she is striving for today.
“I set out to work in agriculture there, but saw a few other countries later along the way, travelling around South America, the US and Mexico, Egypt, Vietnam, Thailand, Fiji and New Zealand.
“Canada was amazing. It’s one of the most beautiful countries I’ve been to, the people were very hospitable and I learned and grew so much.
“I worked as a rider at one 20,000-head feedlot and as a ranch-hand on a prime Angus property elsewhere.
“That experience really led me to understand where I wanted to take my future and was pivotal in now getting me to university.”
Miss Kay said she was still getting used to the exciting news she was chosen as the scholarship winner.
“It is still soaking in and I think it is just fantastic,” she said.
“I am so grateful for the scholarship, it will make such a remarkable difference.
“To have someone believe in you, I don’t think the power of that can be underestimated, and it has meant a lot to me.”
Miss Kay said she plans to use part of her scholarship grant to finance a study exchange to Colorado in the first half of next year.
“Colorado State University has an exceptional agricultural science program with expansive livestock, genetic and farm management units,” she said.
“This is a remarkable opportunity to learn more specifically about beef, while enhancing my perspective of global agriculture and its markets.
“On my return I hope to be able to help farmers achieve their breeding goals in such areas as evaluating current stock, assisting stock selection, enhancing meat quality, increasing growth rates and decreasing risks and mortality,” she said.
“I will be over there for four and a half months and am looking to enhance my global perspective.
“I would love to have my own property one day and I would love to be breeding.
“I want to learn as much as I can and also bring back experience that I can help farmers here and be in a position where I can make a difference,” she said.
Away from her work in the beef industry, Kristen is a trained classical pianist and enjoys the outdoors.
She is a qualified endurance rider, winning the Tasmanian 160km state championship in 2006 and other competition honours.
Managing director of Greenham Tasmania Peter Greenham said the Greenham Tasmania Scholarship is now in its 11th year and the company’s desire was to encourage future leaders in agriculture.
“Scholarship applications are assessed by a panel of four independent judges from the industry and education sectors,” he said.
“Among the criteria considered are personal and academic achievements, the potential benefits and relevance of the chosen study or career path to the Australian beef and dairy industries and how important the scholarship might be in helping the applicant realise his or her dreams,” Mr Greenham said.
The presentation of the 2014 Greenham Agritas Scholarship to Kristen Kay will be made today by Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional Development) of the University of Tasmania Professor Janelle Allison, at the Agritas Agricultural Training College, Smithton.
By The Advocate