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Sydney Royal Dairy Produce Scholarship awarded to Elizabeth Tonge

Posted on : 23 March 2017

Written by: Alison Dance

Elizabeth Tonge, a veterinary student from Casino, will help shape the future of the NSW dairy industry as the winner of the 2017 Sydney Royal Dairy Produce Scholarship awarded by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation (RASF).

The scholarship supports tertiary students who are passionate about pursuing a career in the dairy industry and fosters the development of future NSW agricultural leaders.

Ms Tonge received the $5,000 scholarship awarded in partnership with the Sydney Royal Dairy Produce Committee to support her career aspirations in the NSW dairy industry.

She is studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Biology and Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and is looking forward to assisting farmers in optimising herd health.

“I plan to move back to a rural area at the end of my studies to support dairy farmers in disease management and prevention. I want to help improve the sustainability and profitability of their farms,” the third-year student said.

Dairy is the third largest rural industry in Australia valued at more than $13 billion and directly employs around 38,000 people.

“The dairy industry is exciting and multi-faceted, offering a lot of educational opportunities. If you’re prepared to jump in it can really take you anywhere,” Ms Tonge said.

Growing up on a northern NSW dairy farm ignited the 21-year-old’s passion for the industry and the people in it.

Included in the scholarship was the opportunity to steward at the 2017 Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Show earlier this month where world-class producers benchmarked their product against competitors.

“It was an eye-opening opportunity to learn about the end products of milk and the link from farm management to what the consumer receives,” Ms Tonge said.

RAS Foundation Executive Officer, Kate Ross, said the calibre of applicants was exceptional and applications were received from students representing a variety of educational pursuits.

“Elizabeth came up against some very tough competition but impressed us with her passion for the industry not only at a local level but much more broadly in terms of her overall involvement.

"Elizabeth showed us that she really is a future leader who is actively and enthusiastically striving for a career which will contribute to the positive future of our dairy industry,” Ross said.

The Sydney Royal Dairy Produce Scholarship is made possible by a donation from Country Valley, a long-time Sydney Royal award-winning producer.

The RAS Foundation is a charitable foundation that encourages educational opportunities and helps build strong and sustainable rural and regional communities through a range of targeted community grants and scholarships.

Visit rasf.org.au to learn more about the charitable RAS Foundation.