The support provided to Ashleigh van Uffelen through the Craigmore Sustainables Postgraduate Scholarship has helped her complete her postgraduate studies at Lincoln University.

Following a series of interviews with the Craigmore Farming team, Ashleigh was awarded the 2022 Craigmore Sustainables Postgraduate Scholarship. The scholarship provided support in the completion of her honours dissertation which she says made a significant positive impact.

“The Craigmore Sustainables Postgraduate Scholarship made a significant difference. Without it I would not have been able to dedicate as much time to producing the dissertation to a high quality, and subsequently may not have had the opportunity for it to be accepted and transition from a dissertation into a published paper in one of New Zealand’s agricultural journals,” said Ashleigh.

Ashleigh submitted a manuscript of the dissertation in 2023 to the New Zealand Grasslands Association Journal. Titled “Factors influencing pastoral farmers’ land-use change decisions in response to environmental regulations in the Selwyn District, Canterbury”, it looked at a new way for regulatory authorities to understand which factors influence pastoral farmers’ land-use change decisions and how these factors interact in response to environmental regulation.

After going through a peer review process, the manuscript was accepted and the published paper was presented at the annual New Zealand Grasslands Association conference held in Rotorua in late 2023.

The key findings in the research were:

  • Financial factors and certainty around policy and practice were the most important factors to farmers, when making land-use change decisions.
  • Farmers were hesitant to make a sustainable land-use change decision without the confidence that it will remain a financially and strategically viable choice for the longer term.
  • To encourage sustainable land-use change, regulatory authorities must give increased thought to understanding farmers’ response to regulations and how this affects creation and implementation of future regulation.

After finishing at Lincoln University, Ashleigh spent a month in South Korea on the Prime Minister’s Scholarship learning about agricultural markets, value chains, and trade relationships between New Zealand and South Korea, particularly focused on dairy, horticulture, velvet, and deer milk industries. She is now an Environmental Consultant at The AgriBusiness Group which she is thoroughly enjoying.

More information on Craigmore Sustainables scholarships available to Lincoln University postgraduate students is available here.

Published: 10 April 2024