A career in New Zealand’s red meat industry could take you almost anywhere you want to go, as undergraduate scholar Josh Kirk has discovered as an intern at Silver Fern Farms.

Josh, 22, studied for his Bachelor of Agriculture at Lincoln with the help of a Meat Industry Association scholarship. Now as an intern with Silver Fern Farms, he’s discovering first-hand the full scope of career pathways available.

“It’s amazing the diversity of opportunity in the industry to pursue your interests from working on-farm, to working with farmers or in the management, marketing or technical side of things.”

At Silver Fern Farms, he is getting a taste of every different function of the business, from working with livestock reps getting to see how they work with farmers, with the technical teams and doing Farm Assurance.

“This has all given me a great understanding of the supply chain and now I’m really looking forward to moving into the operations side of the business, learning about planning, processing and management, seeing how it’s done on the floor.

“It’s an incredibly interesting and progressive environment, I’m picking up new skills every step of the way and learning from feedback. And the great thing is that there’s so much scope to move around and work out where your interests lie.”

Growing up on a sheep and beef station in the Lake Coleridge high country, Josh has always had a passion for farming and working with livestock.

In his gap year, he worked as a shepherd on a sheep and beef farm before embarking on his studies at Lincoln. He was awarded $5,000 for his final year under the Meat Industry Association undergraduate scholarship programme.

The main purpose of the scholarship is to provide a pathway for undergraduate or graduate students into the New Zealand meat processing and export industry.

“It’s been a huge help, not only in terms of contributing to course costs and living expenses, but it also has given me a foot in the door.

“I’ve had opportunities to learn and develop that would not otherwise have come up, including attending some industry conferences, connecting with a lot of different people and gaining new insights.”

Josh also received a $5,000 scholarship from Silver Fern Farms.

Applications for the Meat Industry Association (MIA) scholarships open in the third quarter of every year. There are six undergraduate scholarships providing $5,000 a year for each year of study and four post-graduate awards of $10,000 a year for each year of study available.