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Students visit local farms to understand ag career opportunities

Ontario high schools participated in the Gen Ag competition

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content

A group of Ontario high school students explored agricultural career possibilities as part of the Generation Agriculture (Gen Ag) program that sees students participate in provincial marketing competitions.

Students from Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Simcoe, Cardinal Carter High School in Leamington and North Middlesex District High School in Parkhill competed for a $500 prize by giving presentations to a panel of judges from the ag industry.

The winning presentation, given by the team from Holy Trinity, shared what the students do within their school community to raise awareness of agricultural careers.

The winning team from Holy Trinity Catholic High School.
Photo: AgScape

“The students took part in meetings, field trips and special projects, all to learn and expose themselves to what agriculture can offer,” Christine D’Hulster, program teacher lead at Holy Trinity Catholic High School, said in a May 23 release. “We asked ourselves how we could encourage our fellow students to consider agriculture, and now we have regular initiatives like wearing branded shirts and are hosting events to talk about agriculture at school.”

In Ontario, AgScape, which helps create agriculture and food literacy through student learning, provided students and teachers with resources to support classroom instruction and to help organize trips to various agricultural employers and post-secondary programs.

If the contest is any indication, the future of agriculture in Ontario is in good hands.

“I was blown away by the enthusiasm and creative ideas the students presented,” Jenny Mayer, project coordinator with AgScape, said in the release. “It’s clear this program has given students another career perspective in agriculture. And that’s our goal – to show millennials what the agri-food industry can offer them after high school.”

Funded by Farm Credit Canada, the Gen Ag program also included students from Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island.

In P.E.I., Bluefield, Kinkora, Three Oaks and Westisle high schools participated.

Each team’s task was to come up with a business name and marketing strategy to inspire their peers to consider a career in agriculture.

The winning team from Kinkora High, the Barn Babes, used a Facebook page to educate fellow students about agricultural job opportunities.

“We used ‘did you know’ facts about different websites and where you can go to school, and interviews,” Hannah Larsen, a member of the winning team, told CBC.

(L to R) Teacher Jessica Reeves and students Kristie Drummong, Bronwyn Roberts and Angela Arsenault. Missing: Student Hannah Larsen
Photo: PEI Agriculture Sector Council/Facebook

Interview subjects included producers and provincial Agriculture Minister Alan MacIssac.

Gen Ag is something Canadian high school students can benefit from, Grade 12 student Kristie Drummond told CBC.

I think it is definitely something that other schools should be looking into because it does teach you a lot about what's out there and we need to be knowing as Grade 12 students what's out there for us," she told CBC.

The P.E.I. group plans to donate their $500 prize to the agri-science class.


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