A new program designed to kickstart more youth involvement in the agricultural sector is set to begin Thursday in and around the Brandon area.
In total, 30 students from William Morton Collegiate Institute in Gladstone and 30 agricultural students from Assiniboine Community College will tour Westman as part of the inaugural Canola Crawl.
“We see this as a great opportunity for those students who could be the future of agriculture in the province,” said Angela Brackenreed, an agronomy specialist with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association.
“We need young people to take interest in agriculture and unfortunately it’s not brought to the attention of students in high school enough, so we see this as a good program to put it at the forefront.”
The program, which is sponsors by MCGA, Ag in the Classroom and the Canola Council of Canada, will load the 60 students onto a bus, which will visit Westman Aerial Spraying, Richardson Pioneer Elevator, Brandon’s national research station, a grain farm and the horticultural campus at ACC.
The high school students will be paired with ACC agribusiness students, who will act as their mentor throughout the day.
“It’s a chance for the younger students to talk to people closer to their own age and bounce ideas off of (the ACC students),” Brackenreed said.
With an aging farm community, Brackenreed said it’s important to engage youth and promote the industry as a viable and sustainable way of life.
“I believe this is such a fantastic opportunity for all of those involved in the day to have a positive influence on the decisions they make with regards to their career paths,” she said.
“Agriculture is everywhere and I bet a lot of people don’t realize the scope of the industry.
“Joining the ag-industry isn’t something that every student will wish to do, but this is still a great chance for them to see and experience exactly what Ag in Manitoba is all about.”
Brackenreed said she hopes the program is extended to include more schools in the future.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 24, 2013