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Congratulations . . . North Otago Federated Farmers vice-president Jared Ross discusses rural matters with this year's scholarship recipient, Waitaki Girls' High School year 13 pupil Holly Beazer. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

An Oamaru teenager with strong knowledge of the primary sector has been awarded the North Otago Federated Farmers-ANZ rural tertiary scholarship.

Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil Holly Beazer (18) receives $2000 towards the costs of attending Lincoln University next year, where she will begin studying for a bachelor of science majoring in soil and plant science.

There were five scholarship applicants this year, and each was interviewed by a panel of Federated Farmers and ANZ personnel.

Federation vice-president Jared Ross said all candidates were “quality individuals” but Holly was their unanimous choice.

She had “a really good understanding”of issues rural people were facing, including climate change and how it could affect future food production.

Mr Ross said he asked the candidates what they thought about lowering the voting age to 16. Holly said some people at that age had the maturity to weigh up the complexities involved, but others were unable to.

Holly, who lives on a lifestyle block and attends school as a day pupil, grew up mostly on dairy farms.

She said she was passionate about agriculture, horticulture and science and also enjoyed being outdoors.

She does not want to become a farmer but will keep her future options open.

“I would like to be able to pursue a career in which I am able to use scientific knowledge to help farmers increase production whilst using less resources and being more sustainable.

“As our populations in the world are increasing, the amount of resources we have is also decreasing.

“I see this as an issue we are going to have to face and would love to be able to research and apply methods in how we can create more sustainable industries so that we are still able to provide for our people.”

Holly said she always tried her best and enjoyed being involved in a range of groups and activities.

This had helped her learn to balance schoolwork with extracurricular interests.

She has achieved excellence endorsements in NCEA levels 1 and 2 and has also excelled on the netball court – both as a player and an umpire. She is a defender in the Waitaki Girls’ Lightning Strike team and this year passed her New Zealand umpiring theory exam.

Holly umpires in both Dunedin and Oamaru.

Last weekend she officiated in the North Otago club netball final, and was the reserve umpire for the Otago secondary schools senior A finals.

She took up umpiring as a way to learn more about netball, and by year 11 was taking it seriously.

Holly is her school’s Waitaki Way captain and a member of the student council. She is also chairwoman of the Oamaru Blue Light Committee.

She has a part-time job at the North End Pharmacy and takes on relief milking, being a shed hand, and farm work.

Mr Ross said the federation was looking forward to hearing how Holly progressed with her studies.

It had received a “fantastic report” from last year’s scholarship recipient, Waitaki Valley student Isabelle Keeling.