Growing up on a cattle, cotton and grain farm 25 kilometres west of Moree, Charlie Wells has always been involved with agriculture and now he hopes to turn his love for the land into a lifelong career.
“I’ve always had an interest in agriculure; I can’t really picture myself doing anything else,” the 19-year-old said. “Being from Moree, it was the perfect place to grow up with lots of opportunities agriculture-wise.”
Charlie’s dream of becoming an agronomist has recently been made easier thanks to a significant financial boost.
He has been selected as one of nine recipients of the Rural Bank Scholarship and will receive $5,000 to help fund his double degree in agribusiness and sustainable agriculture at the University of Queensland.
Charlie began his double degree at the Gatton campus earlier this year and was thrilled to find out he was one of the lucky winners chosen to receive the Rural Bank Scholarship from more than 130 applicants.
“I was pretty chuffed,” he said. “My family are very proud. It meant a lot to me to win this scholarship.”
Charlie will receive $5,000 for the first year of his studies to go towards the costs of accommodation, course materials, equipment and tutoring, and, subject to academic performance, the funding will be extended to support his second year of study.
Not only will this be a huge financial help for Charlie, who is living on campus, the scholarship also provides access to industry support.
“I’ll be able to gain a bit more knowledge in agriculture as they offer external resources that will benefit me with my studies,” Charlie said.
Charlie attended St Philomena’s school from years 3 to 7 before boarding at the Southport School on the Gold Coast.
During his gap year in 2015, Charlie worked in a cotton gin and as a crop scout in Moree, where he was given the opportunity to work with and learn from numerous different agronomists who inspired him.
“During my gap year, I was exposed to diverse environments and developed a passion for soil science,” Charlie said.
“It’s an exciting industry to be involved in, and I’m particularly fascinated by the increasingly prevalent role technology is playing in finding solutions to many of the issues faced by agronomists.”
After completing his studies, Charlie hopes to return to Moree to work as an agronomist, building strong relationships with local growers and assisting them in improving their crop quality and productivity.