The 25-member group will provide policy advice and engage in industry-related dialogue
By Diego Flammini
A group of young Canadians met with Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau for the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council’s (CAYC) inaugural session.
The 25-member group is made up of people representing production agriculture, research and academia. The minister received more than 800 applications from Canadians interested in serving on the council.
Members will meet multiple times each year to discuss challenges and opportunities within the sector, as well as the effectiveness of policies and programs for the industry.
“Young Canadians in the agriculture and agri-food sector are engaged and passionate,” Minister Bibeau said in a Sept. 3 release. “The Youth Council is a significant opportunity for them to be heard and to influence the future of the sector.”
Among the council members is Gordon Bell, a scholar in the University of Guelph’s Climate-Smart Soils program.
The meeting started with remarks from Minister Bibeau and introductions from each of the council members, Bell said.
“Hearing everybody’s background, it seems like we’re a really diverse group of people,” he told Farms.com. “Minister Bibeau told us her goals for the council but didn’t give everything away because she wanted to hear from us.”
One of the topics brought up during the meeting was communication.
Many members of the council agreed that there’s room for improvement on how farmers, consumers, researchers and lawmakers interact.
“We want to help build trust between farmers and the public and have the public understand the roles that farmers play (in Canada),” Bell said. “But we also want to help build trust between farmers and government, and between farmers and academia.
“I’m in academia and I’ve heard that sometimes researchers don’t always know what the farmers are doing, and that means sometimes the research that is getting done is harder to transfer onto the farm.”
Kalysha Snow, the climate change coordinator at the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture, is another council member.
Like Bell, she noticed the diversity among her fellow council members.
“We are a group of like-minded people, but we have very different backgrounds,” she told Farms.com. “I think that’s very important because everyone can bring something unique to the table.”
Her industry experience also includes working with Agriculture in the Classroom NL to educate young students about food production.
The council discussed opportunities for industry education during its first meeting, she said.
“A lot of the members agreed that right now there’s not enough ag education for youth to make informed decisions, whether that’s as consumers or figuring out a potential career in agriculture,” she said. “I think one thing we’re going to focus on in the next 18 months is more ag education across the country.”
The council’s next meeting is scheduled for October.