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Keen to give back

BRIGHT MIND: Annabel Arnold from Berrigan, NSW, has been awarded a SunRice scholarship. She is studying at the University of Melbourne.
BRIGHT MIND: Annabel Arnold from Berrigan, NSW, has been awarded a SunRice scholarship. She is studying at the University of Melbourne. Dannika Bonser

ANNABEL Arnold grew up watching rice being harvested from the cab of her father's header.

Now the 20-year-old from Berrigan in southern NSW is on a mission to "give back” to the industry that has contributed so significantly to her upbringing.

"I would love to go back to the Riverina and contribute in some way,” she said.

Annabel, the daughter of second-generation rice growers Max and Gill Arnold, is studying for a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne and is the newest recipient of SunRice's Jan Cathcart Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship will fund the next two years of Annabel's tuition.

"It's lifting a massive weight off my shoulders,” she said.

"I'm going to finish my degree and not have much of a HECS debt.

"But it's not just about giving university students an amount of money - it's about shaping women to be industry leaders.”

Annabel's parents run part of a mixed-farming family operation growing wheat, canola and barley in the winter, with their summer crops changing from year to year.

"Rice is something Dad enjoys growing and likes contributing to the industry,” Annabel said.

"We can't grow rice on my uncle's property any more as it doesn't retain water.”

Annabel is particularly interested in economics at the farm level and is gravitating towards working in the water industry after she completes her degree.

"Irrigation is a really important thing farmers get to do, especially in our region if we want to keep supplying food to this country,” she said.

SunRice founded the scholarship in 2014.

To date, six women have received the bursary, providing them with $10,000 a year for up to three years of tertiary study.

Topics:  jan cathcart scholarship rice industry sunrice university of melbourne