Published: 10 May 2019
A whooping $224,000 worth of scholarships were awarded to University of Tasmania agriculture students at Agfest last week.
Fifteen of Tasmania’s future agricultural leaders shared in sixteen scholarships at a special presentation ceremony attended by the Minister for Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, The Honourable Guy Barnett.
The University of Tasmania has more scholarships on offer in agriculture than any other discipline, thanks to the generosity and foresight of the Tasmanian agricultural community, local industry, the Tasmanian Government and the University.
Mr Oliver Gales from Howden was the lucky recipient of the $5,000 Fruit Growers Tasmania Honours Scholarship, which will support his honours research into improving raspberry production in Tasmania.
Mr Gales said he was motivated to undertake an innovative project that was relevant to the raspberry industry after working for a summer at Westerway Raspberry farm.
“I am so grateful to Fruit Growers Tasmania. The scholarship, alongside support from the Westerway Raspberry Farm has allowed my project to be guided by industry for industry,” Mr Gales said.
“My project is looking at ways that infra-red technology can be used to instantly measure Anthocyanins in raspberries, which contribute to their bright red colour as well as their health properties, such as anti-oxidants and anti-carcinogens.
“Being able to measure the Anthocyanins could impact harvest timing as well as automatic sorting of raspberries based on quality.
“This is the first time the technology has been used on fresh whole raspberries, so it is exciting, but very much trial and error.”
Mr Ian Cover from Fruit Growers Tasmania said they were proud to support the next generation of agricultural leaders.
“The Fruit Growers Tasmania Honours Scholarship was established to recognise exceptional full-time students, that have the ambition to overcome fruit industry related issues and to encourage them to seek a career in Tasmania’s fruit industry,” Mr Cover said.
“On behalf of Fruit Growers Tasmania, I would like to congratulate Mr Oliver Gales, who has demonstrated that he possesses these qualities and a willingness to support our growing berry industry.”
Acting Director of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) Professor Ted Lefroy said highly skilled agricultural graduates were in demand in Tasmania and around the world.
“More than ever before, agriculture is central to Australia’s contribution to the world. We need to sustain a growing population with safe, sustainable and profitable food and fibre production. And we need to do it under harsher environmental conditions.
“That challenge is why so many of the world’s smartest people are drawn to the science behind agribusiness. And the demand is so high for our students, many of them have job offers before they even graduate,” said Professor Lefroy.
“TIA and our industry partners give UTAS agriculture students practical, real-world experience. The scholarships awarded today are equipping the next generation to reinvent the family farm, prevent disease outbreaks, boost rural finance or improve crop yields in the developing world.
“We are extremely grateful for the generous support of our scholarship donors, including individuals, industry and community organisations. They are shaping the future not just for Tasmania, but for the world.”