Tyla Bishop hopes a trip to the United States in July will broaden her understanding of global food production.

Tyla (17), a year 13 pupil at St Kevin's College in Oamaru, is one of six TeenAg members from throughout New Zealand chosen to attend the 4-H Congress in Bozeman, Montana.

She lives on a 700-cow dairy farm in the Waitaki Valley and is working on another dairy farm during the summer holidays to help pay for the trip.

Pupils will stay with host families and explore Yellowstone National Park as part of the three-week exchange.


During the four-day 4-H Congress, the pupils will participate in educational workshops, listen to professional speakers and mingle with 400 other delegates.

Bridget Huddlestone, from New Zealand Young Farmers, who is accompanying the group, said it would be an "amazing opportunity".

Sarah Humphries (17), a pupil at Southland Girls' High School, was both excited and "a bit shocked" about her selection.

Her parents operate a 570ha farm at Five Rivers which runs sheep and grazes dairy heifers.

"The United States has large ranches and feedlots and I can't wait to learn more about their style of farming," she said.

It was hoped the inaugural exchange would become a biennial event. Sarah and Tyla have both completed the Leadership Pathway Programme, a leadership course run by New Zealand Young Farmers and funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership.

It had been developed to identify emerging leaders and ensure they were entering career pathways in the primary industries.