Several agriculture students will soon welcome financial relief through the latest partnership between Taree Universities Campus (TUC), Hunter Local Land Services (HLLS) and University of New England (UNE).
HLLS will provide $20,000 in scholarship support for about four students who will study UNE agriculture courses through the universities campus in 2021 and 2022.
The courses involved in the scholarship program are bachelors of agribusiness, agricultural and resources economics, agriculture, agriculture/business (joint program), rural science and sustainability.
TUC chief executive Donna Ballard encouraged agriculture students to apply soon.
"I'm excited we've got students being supported by local organisations and we're pleased HLLS has stepped forward," Mrs Ballard said.
She said the courses available through the campus are unique because students can stay on the farm while studying.
"It's really important for the students who come from farming families," Mrs Ballard said.
"Often they can't move away because of their responsibilities, work requirements and cost."
Mrs Ballard met with HLLS and UNE representatives at the Nicholson Dairy and Silage Contracting farm on Jones Island to discuss the program.
HLLS agriculture production officer Albert Mullen said the scholarship program also includes work and training placements in the region's agriculture sector, involvement with research projects and field trials, tutoring and mentoring.
"We work with a lot of dairy, beef and poultry farmers in the district and we do a number of trials with them so we hope the students will get involved," Mr Mullen said.
He was thrilled local students will get the support they need.
"They don't have to travel and we need professionals in this area," Mr Mullen said.
"It will be great for students to finish their course work and still work in the area."
UNE Taree study centre coordinator Yves Byers said the program was a big step for the university in the Manning.
"Agriculture is big in this area and we want to encourage more students to take it up and stay locally," Ms Byers said.
"UNE has always been an agricultural uni and we want to have more of that in Taree."
The draw for the next generation of farmers to stay in the area is music to the ears of their working families.
"It's a big concern of local farmers that their kids go away, get a degree and stay away whereas they can stay here to study and stay on the farm," Ms Byers said.
The courses are filling up fast ahead of semester one, which starts next month.
Students can call 1300 169 990 or visit tareeuni.org.au/browse-courses. Find the 'apply for a scholarship' link on the website to view the HLLS program.