ONLY a rural student far from home like Emma-Lea Compagnoni can appreciate the value of some financial help to continue her studies while staying connected with her farming family.
The 19-year-old makes the 9-10 hour road trip in her trusty ute back to her family’s outback station operation in south-central Queensland, as often as possible.
So Emma-Lea is especially appreciative of being awarded the $5000 annual Gus McGown bursary by AgForce last week.
She is in the second year of a usually four-year Bachelor of Animal Science, majoring in livestock production, at the University of New England at Armidale in the NSW northern tablelands.
“It (the bursary) is going to help with the hidden costs of living away from home and with the travel as well,” she said.
“It will help so much.”
Emma-Lea’s parents John and Laura-Lea run about 5000 Merino sheep and 4000 beef cattle on three properties spanning more than 40,400 hectares; the beef cattle properties, Baykool at Charleville and the home place Umberill at Mungalla, and Carinya near Mitchell, which has the sheep and some cattle.
Emma-Lea said her goal is to return to help run the family properties. She has been mainly involved with the cattle side of the operation, but enjoys working with the Lambert and Terrick blood Merino flock.
“Every time I work with the sheep I improve.”
Emma-Lea said she is one half of a “dream team” for mustering with 16-year-old sister Clare. She also has another younger sister Avril, 10.
AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said Miss Compagnoni had a strong commitment to the future of Queensland agriculture and was a deserving winner of the bursary.
“Emma-Lea is in her second year of her university studies and plans to use the knowledge she gains about animal nutrition, sheep and wool, and livestock production when she comes back to the family property.
“I hope this helps Emma-Lea further her career in agriculture, while also giving us all a chance to remember Gus McGown, one of Queensland’s finest graziers,” Mr Maudsley said.
Emma-Lea said she was honoured to be awarded the bursary and had enjoyed working in agriculture from an early age as “every day was different”.
“Being the recipient of this bursary shows that there is support available to young people like me who want to come back and work in agriculture, while it will also help me deal with the hidden costs that can occur when living away from home.
“I want to use the knowledge that I gain from university to help provide food and fibre for our ever-increasing population.”
The bursary is named after long-time AgForce member and sheep grazier Gus McGown and rewards one student with links to AgForce’s Southern Inland Queensland region with funding towards tuition fees for an accredited qualification, undergraduate study or post graduate levels within Australia.
The bursary will also include a four-week AgForce internship to provide exposure to agri-political advocacy across the three AgForce commodities, communications, projects teams and School Industry Partnerships Program. The Bursary is sponsored by the Maranoa Graziers Trust and administered by AgForce.