Wednesday, 27 July 2022 14:55

Te Puke student's passion rewarded

Written by  Staff Reporters
Sarah Wilson. Photo supplied Sarah Wilson. Photo supplied

Despite experiencing the PSA outbreak first-hand growing up, Animal and Plant Health scholarship winner Sarah Wilson says deciding to study agribusiness was the best decision she could make.

The 19-year-old attributes her enthusiasm to “an awesome ag school teacher, people working in the sector, and growing up in the heart of horticulture” in Te Puke where her family has strong connections with the kiwifruit industry.

Wilson says the outbreak of the bacterial vine disease PSA in 2011 gave her an appreciation for the tools needed to protect crops from harmful pests and diseases.

She says the “sickening hum of chainsaws” echoed in the districts as orchardists were forced to chop down their vines.

Wilson, a third year agribusiness student at Massey University, says it is important consumers understand the value of agrichemicals and the effort that the industry goes to in order to keep consumers safe.

“Each product has been thoroughly researched and industry bodies are always looking at how they can use agrichemicals more efficiently,” she says.

“If we cannot get our products to market due to pest and disease incursions, we have the potential for economic collapse.”

Wilson says she had contemplated taking the “safe option” of a career in business before settling on agribusiness and horticulture.

She says the decision to study agribusiness was “the best decision of my life”, due to the extensive opportunities and career pathways available to her.

“My degree I giving me a broad overview of primary industries that few other degrees can give.”

When she’s finished her studies, Wilson says she wants to add value and make a positive difference to the sector.

The $2,500 scholarship will go towards next year’s study costs.

Animal and Plant Health NZ chief executive Mark Ross says the association is pleased to contribute to the future of someone with so much enthusiasm for agriculture.

“We were impressed with Sarah’s drive and the commitment she showed to enhancing the primary industries,” he says.

“It’s clear that she will be an asset to the industry, and we wish her well with her career”.

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