Sandra Hessdorfer also farms in St. Benedict, Sask.
By Diego Flammini
An elementary educator is among the recipients of an 18-month industry mentorship opportunity.
Sandra Hessdorfer, a farmer and rancher from St. Benedict, Sask., is one of the eight people of the province’s ag community who will experience the Next Gen Agriculture Mentorship Program.
“I’m so excited,” Hessdorfer told Farms.com.
The program, delivered by Canadian Western Agribition with support from the provincial and federal governments, helps create a community of graduates with a deeper understanding of the industry.
Hessdorfer will use her mentorship opportunity to improve her ag education efforts.
A trained educational assistant working with a grade one class, Hessdorfer is working remotely because of COVID-19. But she’s continued to engage with students on YouTube through her channel, ‘On the Farm with Mrs. H.’
She started the channel around this time in 2020. Videos on her channel include showing how to bottle feed a calf, hauling grain and her favourite place on the farm.
Targeting students at a young age is important because they’re more likely to absorb the information, she said.
“At this age in elementary school is when kids really enjoy that kind of learning and will take in what they’re being shown,” she said. “It’s important they develop an understanding of where their food comes from, how it’s produced and even some of the guidelines Canadian farmers have to follow. There’s a segment of the population who think anything goes on the farm but it’s not like that at all.”
Hessdorfer also has an Instagram account where she talks about being a farmer-in-law and daily life on the farm.
To help each program participant achieve their goals, each person is paired up with a member of the ag sector.
Hessdorfer will be working with Sara Shymko, the executive director of Agriculture in the Classroom Canada.
Hessdorfer is hopeful this experience will turn her into a better advocate and educator overall.
“It’s such an honour to work with Sara and we’ve had a few meetings already,” Hessdorfer said. “My hope is that I’m able to up my game with those videos and have more direction about bringing education and agriculture, my two loves, together.”
The other mentorship program participants are:
- Alexandra Clarke, who will be paired with Gerry Hertz,
- Anna Karlsson, who will be working with Heather Deobald,
- Blaine Lamontagne, who will receive mentorship from Danny Petty,
- Grayson Berting, who will work with Joe Barnett,
- Megan Roger, who will be mentored by Brett Halstead,
- Morgan Follensbee, who will be paired up with Kim Keller, and
- Ryan Grabarczyk, who will receive mentorship from Shelley Jones
Farms.com has contacted Shymko for comment about working with Hessdorfer.
Farms.com would also like to extend its congratulations to all of the mentees.
Sandra Hessdorfer photo