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CEF has partnered with MH Premium Farms to offer one scholarship to a CEF student undertaking studies in the agricultural field. We are thrilled to announce Chelsea Stevenson as the recipient of this scholarship in its first year. Kind, intelligent, mature and passionate – Chelsea is the perfect choice.

Local Foundation:
CEF Gwydir

Course:
Bachelor of Agriculture

Institution:
University of New England

Year of study:
1st year

Other Support:
MHPF – CEF Scholarship

DETERMINATION IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY

Chelsea describes herself as a ‘relatively young, self-independent, Indigenous 18-year old.’ She grew up in the small town of Bingara, in the Gwydir region of NSW, 160km west of Armidale.

She has overcome financial, geographic and family adversities to get to where she is today, at times feeling it was ‘almost impossible.’

Chelsea saw and experienced things no person, and certainly no child, should ever have to.

I had to grow up well beyond my years.

Her Nan, a pensioner, took her in five years ago, and ‘has done the best to bring me up on very little money.’  She says that her great grandparents also helped share the parental load.

There is a gentle sense of acceptance and quiet determination in Chelsea’s words. Acceptance for what she has faced; and incredible determination in overcoming the many challenges that have come her way.

Chelsea began working at 13 years of age to lessen the burden on her Nan. She worked four jobs for the duration of her schooling, which helped them both get by.

Given the type of employment Chelsea has undertaken – stock mustering, assisting the local vet, child minding and stock and station work – she has experienced first hand the devastating effect drought has had on her community and the land she loves.

So passionate about helping those affected by the drought, that when she wasn’t at school or working, Chelsea spent every spare minute volunteering and helping older farmers with tasks they could no longer do. It was important to Chelsea that they could rely on her, and she reflects that perhaps they wanted her to stay longer, ‘just for the company.’

PRIDE AND PASSION

When asked about where her passion for agriculture comes from, Chelsea credits her ‘beautiful hometown’ and the several casual jobs she has undertaken over the years.

Even more so, she owes her passion for the industry to the love she has for her great grandfather. At 90 years of age, he still lives on his 200-acre hobby farm. She fondly remembers sitting, watching her only male role model go about his work, listening to his stories of working on the land and for the CSIRO.

I’m the only family member to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps. I want to honour him and make him proud.

Chelsea’s passion is evident not only in her words, but in the resolve she showed to complete her senior agriculture subject at school. With no teaching staff for the subject, she completed this via distance education.

She believes ‘there has never been a more important time to manifest an interest in agriculture as a young woman.’

Now embarking on her 1st year of studies at the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale, Chelsea hopes her education in agriculture will lead her to contribute to regional Australia, to be ‘part of the bigger picture.’

A PERFECT FIT

Like many students in the CEF geographic footprint who want to undertake post-school education, Chelsea and her fellow students were pushed by their Year 12 advisor to apply for support from CEF.

When she applied to CEF for financial support, Chelsea was very honest. She confessed she felt she’d reached a point where her hard work alone may not be enough for her to successfully take the next step in her journey.

I thought I couldn’t afford to pursue university without financial help. Once I knew I had the help to buy the tools, I knew that I would be studying this year.

This is the very reason CEF exists. To make sure that incredible young people like Chelsea know that their hard work means everything, and to ensure that money doesn’t stop them achieving the amazing things we know they will.

Chelsea’s application not only had CEF Gwydir Learning Region Fund keen to support her, but well and truly put her at the top of the short list for the inaugural MH Premium Farms – CEF Scholarship.

The scholarship is valued at up to $17,000 over four years and will help with the direct costs of her study. For Chelsea this means buying a laptop and other tools she needs, things she simply would not have been able to afford otherwise.

Chelsea sees the scholarship from MH Premium Farms and CEF as a life changing opportunity.

Not only does it provide her with the financial support she needs, MH Premium Farms are also able to host Chelsea for the 12 weeks mandatory work experience her course requires and even potentially offer future employment.

Chelsea displays a level of maturity and responsibility beyond her years and we are delighted to have her as an ambassador of CEF Gwydir.

Robyn Phillips, Secretary & Public Officer – CEF Gwydir Learning Region

Our goal was to find a smart young person with the drive to succeed. Despite some early life setbacks, Chelsea demonstrated to us that she has a strong work ethic and desire to achieve her goals.

Ed Dunn, Chief Executive Officer – MH Premium Farms

CEF and MH Premium Farms are excited to see what this incredible young woman will achieve, and the honour is ours to support her journey.

Chelsea has never envisioned herself being anywhere but in the country. And we are so incredibly grateful for that.

  • Best playlist for concentrating?
    Anything country, something soft that won’t override your thoughts
  • Favourite place for coffee?
    I don’t drink coffee
  • Last book you read?
    The only books I have time for is textbooks lately. My favourite book is Rachael Treasure, Jillaroo
  • Fantasy study group?
    I study best alone with no distractions, I talk too much!
  • How would you spend your last $10?
    I’d like to say I’d be an entrepreneur, but I’d probably spend it on my dogs

MH Premium Farms is a private landholder of Australian agricultural assets. They operate 19 properties over 70,000 hectares in Eastern Australia, strategically located over several climatic regions.

The company is Australian operated and managed, and is committed to being a leading producer and an employer of first choice within the industry.