For 18-year-old Mitchell Priestly, pursuing a career in agriculture came as somewhat of a surprise.
Having grown up in the heart of Shepparton, it was an interest in science that first led the Rural Bank national scholarship recipient towards a career in agriculture.
Currently studying a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne, Mr Priestly remains uncertain where his career will take him.
‘‘That’s the main thing that attracted me to agriculture, you can take it anywhere,’’ he said.
‘‘If you’re interested in the business side of things, or genetics, there’s a lot you can do.
‘‘There’s not a set path at the moment.’’
Currently drawn to pursuing more of an economics focus, Mr Priestly said he continued to be inspired by those who worked in the agriculture industry.
Having intended to undertake an agriculture degree at university, Mr Priestly’s summer holidays during secondary school were spent at Craig and Helen Reynolds’ Congupna property, learning the ropes on their cropping operation.
Rural Bank managing director and chief executive officer Alexandra Gartmann said an increase in the number of scholarships offered through the 2018 program reflected the depth of bright young Australians passionate to contribute to the agriculture sector.
‘‘The growth of the Australian agriculture sector is absolutely dependent on the development of new rural leaders who can implement new ways of thinking,’’ she said.
Scholarship recipients each receive financial support from Rural Bank to the value of $5000 for the first year of their studies.
This funding can be used to contribute to the cost of accommodation, course materials, equipment and tutoring and, subject to academic performance, will be extended to support recipients’ second year studies.
■To learn more about the 2018 Rural Bank Scholarship Program, visit: ruralbank.com.au/scholarships