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Articles and stories about the RAS Foundations and its grant and scholarship recipients

Articles and stories about the RAS Foundations and its  grant and scholarship recipients

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All creatures great and small

13 Nov 2017

In the words of one of the most famous country veterinarians, James Herriot,  “Animals are unpredictable things so our whole life is unpredictable. It’s a long tale of little triumphs and disasters and you’ve got to really like it to stick to it.” With high hopes and aspirations, ten Rural Scholarship recipients will be enjoying the triumphs and experiencing the disasters of life as a veterinarian with thanks to the RAS Foundation ( RASF ). Universities offer 1029 students the opportunity to enrol to study Veterinary Science in New South Wales each year, with a total cost in excess of $250,000 for a degree with a starting salary of $44,053 upon graduation. It is a massive commitment, financially and time-wise, and more often than not requires a shift from home (two universities in NSW offer the course – Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga and the University of Sydney). The RASF is assisting students relocating from hometowns including Wollomombi (864 kms), Narooma (433 kms), Cobar (530 kms), Kandos (468 kms) and even Penrith (456 kms) to study at Charles Sturt University. Apart from distance, all have one other thing in common –the determination to contribute to rural NSW and regional communities as a country vet. With fifteen percent of the RASF Rural Scholarships awarded to Veterinary Science students, and thirteen percent going to Medical Science students, it is fair to conclude that many did pay attention to Dr James Herriot when he advised, “I hope to make people realise how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs.” Read more

Scholarships reopen to NSW VET students

8 Nov 2017

The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) Foundation is again supporting education in rural NSW throughscholarships of up to $6,000 for students studying Vocational Education Training (VET) courses. Read more

Going home to help

27 Oct 2017

In 1818 John Oxley first passed through the regional area now known as Dubbo. In 1840, Dundullimal Homestead was built, recognised as the oldest surviving slab hut house in Australia. In 1851, the census in Dubbo revealed a population of 28 males and 19 females. The Post Office was established in 1862, the first Dubbo Pastoral & Agricultural Show took place in 1873, and Dubbo was proclaimed a City in 1967. In 2017 four outstanding students from the region received Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation (RASF) Rural Scholarships to help them achieve their educational goals. Harriet Amey is studying physiotherapy at university in Sydney but is going to return home to the ‘hub of the west’ with a plan to address the shortage of physiotherapists in regional hospitals. Harriet is incredibly aware of the need to bridge the gap and thanks to the assistance she has received from the RASF she is one giant step closer. The Rali Foundation donated Harriet’s Scholarship. Australia is the world’s leading supplier of red meat, and Australians eat more red meat than anyone else does around the world. Red meat plays an incredible part in Australia’s economy and the industry is vital as a major employer. Fortunately, Tyla Comerford has moved from Dubbo to New England in order to study Agriculture/Business and will return with a focus on producing a more feed-efficient line of cattle. Tyla believes better genetics in cattle production is the way forward in order to feed ever-growing numbers demanding Australian red meat. Tyla received a RASF Rural Scholarship with thanks to Moghul Brahman Stud/UNE Foundation. Promoted as an evocity (Energy, Vision & Opportunity), Dubbo is calling for new residents to boost its 51,000 population. The ‘treechange’ from city to regional living has many benefits but issues including loneliness and a sense of isolation can sometimes arise. A RASF Rural Scholarship donated by the Christopher Cuffe Foundation is going to assist Caitlin Maginnis to help people facing grief, loss and crisis in regional areas.  Studying Social Work at university in Dubbo, Caitlin wants to empower families and young people with better choices and support. Life on the land has difficulties and financial problems can go hand-in-hand with rural living. Samantha Smart is studying Agricultural Production with the hopes of demonstrating this doesn’t have to be the case. Samantha is receiving assistance with her studies thanks to a RASF Rural Scholarship donated by the Rali Foundation, and would like to settle in Dubbo with a mixed farming enterprise that is both environmentally and financially sustainable. Read more

Blue Mountains Man secures inaugural Sydney Royal Wine Assessment Scholarship

24 Oct 2017

Aspiring NSW winemaker Tom Colman has been named as the inaugural recipient of the Sydney Royal Wine Assessment scholarship. The scholarship is the result of a partnership between the Sydney Royal Wine Committee and the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation, RASF. The aim of the scholarship is to encourage and support young professionals passionate about wine and committed to forging a career in the Australian wine industry. Growing up at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains gave now 26 year old Tom a passion for the outdoors. Despite this being a distance from the established winemaking regions, Tom's passion for agriculture and viticulture spurred him towards a degree in winemaking and viticulture to which he graduated with honours. During his degree he spent his free time working for various winemakers in the Basket Range in the Adelaide Hills, such as James Erskine at Jauma and Alex Schulkin at The Other Right. Since then he has worked for a variety of wineries within America, Spain and north-eastern France. Tom says he is particularly excited by the opportunity to witness and contribute to changing wine styles and consumer education about the Australian wine industry. This has led him to start a small wine project with his father called Frankly Wines which uses fruit fermented in the family garage. "I’ve always dedicated my time and energy into bettering others and helping others achieve their goals," Tom Colman said. "It means a lot to me that this has been seen and that I can take a step back for a minute and focus on improving myself. "I hope to use all this knowledge to make myself a better taster and improve my knowledge on the world of wine. "I hope to do some associate judging in the future or some broader commentary on wine,” Tom said. The Sydney Royal Wine Assessment Scholarship, valued at $6000, will see Tom Colman take up a fully paid position at the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course next month in Adelaide.   For further information please contact: Roger White Manager, Public Relations Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) P: 02 9704 1453 | E: Read more

A good news story

25 Sep 2017

Three little letters can change a life and they certainly did for Hannah Southcott. Read more

RAS Scholarship Applications Closing Soon

1 Sep 2017

Scholarships - they are at the very heart of the not-for-profit Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS). The RAS offers numerous valuable scholarships each year through its charitable arm, the RAS Foundation. Applications close on 30 September 2017 on four of these scholarships. They are; The JB Fairfax Award for Rural and Regional Journalism Sydney Royal Wine Study Scholarship RAS Foundation Rural Scholarship Sydney Royal Dairy Produce Scholarship The JB Fairfax Award for Rural and Regional Journalism is offered to a journalism student who has a passion and desire to report on issues affecting rural and regional communities. It includes a $10,000 scholarship as well as practical work experience in the commercial media and the Sydney Royal Easter Show Media Centre. The JB Fairfax Award for Rural and Regional Journalism was established to encourage quality coverage of rural and regional affairs by Australian journalists. It was created through a donation by Mr John B Fairfax AO and is managed by the RAS Foundation. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit to find out more about the scholarship and to complete the online application form. The Sydney Royal Wine Study Scholarship is a grant designed to reward a tertiary student who is passionate about pursuing a career in the Australian wine industry. A number of past recipients of the Wine Scholarship have gone on to successful careers as winemakers, either at their own wineries of for some of the nation’s leading winemaking names. Applications for the 2018 award can be completed online through the RASF website The RAS Foundation Rural Scholarship is an initiative designed to ensure an increased flow of skilled people to rural and regional NSW communities. Scholarships are awarded to tertiary students based on financial need and desire to play an active part in the future of rural NSW. A record 64 recipients received grants in 2017. Applications for the RASF 2018 Rural Scholarships can be accessed online at The Sydney Royal Dairy Produce Scholarship aims to foster the development of Australia’s next generation of NSW dairy produce industry leaders. As well as a grant towards full-time or part-time study the successful recipient will also have the opportunity to steward at the 2018 Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Show in February. Interested applicants are encouraged to visit to find out more about the scholarship and to complete the online application form. Murray Wilton, General Manager Agriculture & Sydney Royal Easter Show, is pleased to announce that 2018 scholarships will increase, with $6000 granted to full-time students and $3000 for part-time study, up from $5000 and $2500. “The RAS Foundation is aware of the increasing costs for country students and the incredible difference our scholarships can make,” Mr Wilton said. “Moving away from home in order to continue with education is a big decision and one that carries significant and growing costs for students. Hopefully the increase in our scholarship will make a big difference as they pursue higher education,” he said. Applications for the four scholarships detailed above close at 5pm, September 30, 2017. Ends. Visit for more information on the RAS Foundation. For further information please contact: Roger White, Manager, Public Relations p (02) 9704 1453 m 0478 092 425 e Read more

Calling all scholars

4 Aug 2017

RAS Foundation Scholarships provide a financial helping hand to assist students achieve their education goals. Over the past seven years 371 Scholarships - for a total of $1,721,500 - have been awarded. Students with a passion for rural issues and a commitment to playing a part in shaping the future of rural and regional NSW are encouraged to apply. Thanks to the donations from our generous supporters, Rural Scholarships are open to students of any age and embrace a diverse range of tertiary or vocation education and training studies. Amongst the 64 recipients of the 2017 Rural Scholarship recipients are the following four outstanding applicants: Bridget Bennett - studying a Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science at the University of Newcastle. “In completing my course I wish to move back out to a rural area such as Orange, or even Dubbo (if a cancer clinic is approved and built before I've finished my course) to work as a fully qualified Radiation Therapist.” Thomas Tsang - studying a Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales. “There is always a divide between rural and urban healthcare, therefore I would like to contribute to narrowing this gap. Growing up in Taree, I understand the challenges a country town faces in getting fair and quality medical services. I am keen to return to regional/rural areas, to contribute to narrowing the gap between the rural and urban healthcare.” Tamara Heir - studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University. “ I represent part of the future of science and agriculture in rural and regional NSW and this is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I am working my very hardest to study and learn all I can.” Katherine Reid - studying a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England. “My reason for studying this course is to improve the standard and quality of production, to facilitate further research and learning into different methods of producing agricultural goods. I hope this degree can give me the skills to strengthen the industry.” Read more

The White Stuff

1 Aug 2017

According to a study jointly conducted by the CSIRO and University of Adelaide, one in six Australians have stopped drinking milk and consuming other dairy products – often in the misguided belief that dairy is bad for their health. Of the 1184 adults surveyed, it was found that the majority of those avoiding dairy (74 per cent) were doing so because they were keen to relieve gastrointestinal problems such as cramping, bloating and wind, while fewer participants admitted avoiding dairy because they believed it was fattening. It’s concerning, but the figures all come down to misinformation, says Blake Robinson, Accredited Practising Dietitian at Dairy Australia (, who adds many of those limiting dairy for health reasons are self-diagnosed. “There’s clearly a lot of noise and confusion out there because we know that only one in ten Australians is meeting the daily dairy serve recommendations,” he says. “However I don’t know that there’s any reason to panic about what this study means for our dairy industry – fresh milk consumption has been stable over the last few years and we’re proud to be able to say we’re the only market globally to maintain that.” While dietitians are concerned about what a decrease in dairy consumption could do to our health, what does the CSIRO study mean for our $13 billion dollar dairy industry? At first glance, the figures look great. According to Dairy Australia, Australian milk production increased by nearly 360 million litres (or 3.8 per cent) in 2014/15, and a paper by the Department of Primary Industries recently showed that global demand for Australian dairy products is steadily increasing and expected to grow, driven by demand in China, South East Asia and the Middle East. “Dairy farmers supply a 40/60 split to domestic and export so domestic consumption really is half the story,” says Robinson. One person who is certainly not worried is Country Valley ( dairy farmer, John Fairley whose family has been in the industry on and off for over 160 years. While alternative milk and juices have enjoyed what Fairley calls ‘stealth marketing’, they’ve failed to make a dent in the market nation-wide, and it’s been his experience that the numbers of those who enjoy conventional dairy products are only continuing to grow. “From my personal experience, I can tell you Country Valley continues to do well, and nationally we know the fresh milk market goes up by an average of 1.5 per cent each year,” he says. Similarly, South Coast Dairy ( has recently reported a 54 per cent jump in demand for local milk over a one-month period, after social media campaigns demanded a boycott of cheaper milk. But what of the figures released by research company IBIS, which showed that the growth rates for alternative milk such as soy and almond at an average of 5.9 per cent are eclipsing that of traditional dairy? What do we make of new milk products such as Made by Cow ( Cold Pressed Milk (a happy medium between totally raw and pasteurised milk), which has just hit the market at $5 for a 750ml bottle? Happily, a 2011 report for Soy Australia Ltd shows Australians, on average, only drink three litres of soy milk per capita, per year – a far cry from the 106.8 litres of cow’s milk we consume. And as for the new milk products, there’s every chance they’ll take those turning their backs on dairy to come back to moo, says Made by Cow’s founder, Saxon Joye. “Since we hit Harris Farm shelves in June, we’ve been told that the volume in their milk category has actually increased,” he confides. “And it’s not that our product is cannibalising others, but that our presence is perhaps pointing to other products on the shelves and increasing those figures – it’s really quite exciting.” Read more
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