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Attitude is altitude

Attitude is altitude
Geraldine High School’s Primary Industry Academy kick-started a career in agriculture for Ravensdown agri-manager Shiloh Mould.

Rakaia-based Ravensdown agri-manager Shiloh Mould says she was a 'townie' before Geraldine High School teacher Sarah Foley-Smith ignited her passion for agriculture.

"Sarah is one of the pivotal people in my life.

"In terms of people who have shaped my career, she was definitely the first and most dominant throughout my life," Mould says

Mould studied agriculture through Geraldine High School's Primary Industry Academy (PIA), which gives students practical and theory-based farming knowledge.

"It covers everything from propagation, tractor driving, water supply, fencing, and you do these really cool farm visits.

"I don't know what we haven't done with PIA."

After high school, Mould knew she wanted to pursue a career in agriculture but was still determining which direction she wanted to follow.

Mould studied for a Bachelor of Agriculture at Lincoln University to keep her options open.

"I chose that because it was quite broad.

"I knew I loved forestry, arable, and sheep and beef, but I didn't know exactly how I would fit into that."

Mould found her career path when she was accepted into Ravensdown's graduate programme after finishing her degree.

Following the graduate programme, Mould was placed as an agri-manager in Morrinsville before landing a position two years ago on her home turf of Mid Canterbury.

Mould said being female hasn't been an issue in her career and that currently, around 80 per cent of central South Island Ravensdown agri-managers are women, showing the sector is open to gender diversity.

"The biggest challenge would have been getting over the fear of giving it a go.

"The farmers are so open; they aren't the big, scary farmers you think they are.

"They're welcoming and respectful."

Mould says that when it comes to forging a successful career, "attitude is altitude."

"We are never expected to encyclopaedias; you are never expected to know everything.

"If you don't know something, go find out.

"Work ethic is important, just getting back to people on time and doing the job you are meant to."

Moulds' work area stretches across Mid Canterbury, from Geraldine to Sheffield, through to the Rakaia Gorge and out to the coast, meaning she can enjoy the changing Canterbury landscape and has a diverse range of customers across all farming sectors on her books.

For Mould, though, helping farmers and making a difference on their farm gives her the most satisfaction.

"Farmers are awesome.

"They are vets, sparkies, plumbers, everything under the sun.

"To talk to someone with that much knowledge and experience is just so cool.

"So the fact that I get to communicate with multiple farmers on a daily basis is the most rewarding part for me."

By Claire Inkson