Amelia on a journey to take over the family farm

30 March 2023 | News

First year agricultural science student Amelia Ridgen is already super clear on where she wants to land after completing her degree.

She’ll be looking at gaining as much experience as she can in the agronomy field before eventually taking over the family farm.

Agronomy is the science of soil management and crop production, a discipline that Amelia finds interesting and considers to be crucial to farm management.

"With increasing technology in chemicals and plant species, I think it will be one of the most important and challenging aspects to the family business by the time I take over," she said.

And as the recipient of a 2023 Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for Excellence, she will be financially supported throughout her Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree, making it easier to achieve her goals.

Farming is certainly in the blood for Amelia, as she comes from a sheep, beef, cropping and dairy support farm in Greendale, so she needed to attend boarding school when she began her secondary education at Christchurch Girls’ High.

She has already experienced stunning success in her field, as one half of the duo who took out last year’s FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year competition. Amelia shared the honour with fellow Girls’ High student Erin Humm, who is also pursuing Lincoln’s Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

The girls, aged 17 at the time, became only the second female pair to win the coveted title, an honour they were immensely proud of.

"I thoroughly enjoyed everything about the competition and learnt so much in the practicals, the modules, the speech and the exam," Amelia said.

"The win was really empowering, but at the end of the day, it’s the people I met, the new experiences and the skills I picked up that made the competition so worthwhile. It definitely helped me to meet people before coming to Lincoln too!"

She chose to attend Lincoln because it offered the ideal study programme to suit her aspirations and she already "knew a bit about the university through my involvement with TeenAg".

Her plans to work away from the family farm after completing her degree are related to upskilling and "keeping up with the ever changing farm tech before being behind the wheel of the farm".

"I believe I will keep the family business just as diverse as it is now, if not more so, with the location and soil types of the farm being what keep it afloat," she said.

"I really enjoy the diversity of our faming system. A dairy conversion is not something I could see myself doing, as milking cows is not a lifestyle I dream of, but providing standing grass and fodder beet for winter feed on the dairy support portion of the block is something that works for us.

"We need agronomy advice across all areas of the business, from arable cropping to the dairy support crops, as well as to improve our pastoral systems, so having some knowledge and experience with it would benefit me as a farmer, I’m sure."