FMG’s Agricultural Scholarship alumni is an ever-growing group of fantastic people who are going on to doing great things within the agricultural industry. Jo Wood, a recipient of an FMG Ag scholarship in 2020 graduated last year. We caught up with Jo to see how she found University and what she’s up to now.
So, Jo, tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in the agricultural industry?
I grew up in suburban Auckland and made the move to Wellsford about 20 years ago. My interest in agriculture sparked when I started working on my brother in laws dairy farm as a gardener. I was surrounded by farmland, bush, animals, and waterways – this was all new to me coming from Auckland! I was intrigued to learn more. So, I did.
What did you end up studying?
I went to Massey University to study a Bachelor of Science (Environmental).
After seeing all the new regulations coming in for farmers, and the information about climate change, I wanted to know what the actual story was. I wanted to be able to make decisions based on the latest research.
That sounds like a great course to study. How did you find it?
I did the course through distance learning during the COVID years – so it certainly had its challenges. I’m also mum to four kids, and was working full time whilst studying full time, so I had to be very strict with my time management.
I downloaded lectures and recorded myself reading my study notes, I then played them over and over while I was working on the farm/driving to pick up kids. My Air Pods became almost a permanent attachment. There were many nights spent until the wee hours of the morning in front of my computer screen playing catch up. I also met an amazing study buddy from Christchurch who helped motivate me and has now become one of my best friends.
Wow, you were juggling a lot, especially amidst the pandemic. Were you proud of yourself when you finally finished?
At the end of 2022 I received an award for being the top Environmental Science student for that year. It made all those late nights and stressful days worthwhile in the end. You could say I was pretty chuffed!
Congratulations, definitely something to be proud of. So, what are you up to now after you’ve graduated?
I’ve landed an amazing part time job with a company who has a dairy farm, agricultural contracting business and limestone quarry. It’s great because I’m able to use so many aspects of my degree in my job – I’m a jack of all trades which keep me busy!
When studying, I fell in love with chemistry, so I’m also working one day a week at Rodney College as a science lab technician. I love it!
Phew, you’re one busy bee – go you! Looking ahead to the future, what aspirations do you have within the agricultural sector?
I’m really interested in the regulatory and compliance space, so I’m now doing a part-time post grad diploma in Occupational Health and Safety Management. Every business needs H&S, and my aim is to keep it as simple and effective as possible, while still ticking all the boxes, and making sure everyone gets home safe each night.
I’m also keeping a close eye on new environmental legislation that will impact dairy farmers. There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about things such as carbon credits or greenhouse gas emissions and farmers often don’t have the time or inclination to delve deeply into it all. That is an area I would love to be able to help in.
There really is no stopping you, such a fantastic person who’s now part of our FMG Agricultural Scholarship alumni family. What did it mean to you to receive the scholarship?
Without FMG I would not have been able to do my degree. Having a Bachelor of Science has opened doors and given me confidence and a new direction for life. I am most grateful to FMG for taking me under their wing.
Applications are now open for FMG’s 2024 Agricultural Scholarships. If you, or someone you know is interested, head to FMG scholarships for more information and how to apply.