Ag careers are waiting for you!

Dear Grad,

mirrorIt’s finally here – high school graduation! A long-anticipated, exciting time, perhaps filled with a bit of trepidation of what the future holds. Do you have a clear vision and goal of what you want to do and where you want to go? If not, why not consider a career in agriculture?

You don’t have to be from a farm, or even from a rural area. If you are at all interested in food and food production, the job opportunities are endless. All you need to bring to the table is a desire to learn.

Ag job factsCurrently 1 in 8 jobs in Canada are connected to agriculture and agri-food production. It is estimated by 2022 there will be 74,000 job openings in the Canadian agri-food sector but one third will go unfilled. There is an opening waiting for you!

While many jobs are directly connected to farming – agronomists, veterinarians, grain and livestock marketers, truckers, mechanics, financial lenders, auctioneers, salespeople – there are so many others related to agriculture.

Research is always ongoing – with plants, animals, soils and the environment along with food processing, transportation, refrigeration and storage. The science behind leading-edge technology and genetics is exciting and ever-changing.

Ag - food demand growthMethods of producing food go beyond the field to greenhouses, hydroponics and aquaculture. World food demand is set to grow by 60 per cent by 2050. The amount of land we have is limited but ideas and innovation for increasing food production are infinite.

Agricultural economics, policy and law play an important role in our industry. Negotiations and trade talks can involve travel all over the world.

As the number of people directly involved in farming continues to decrease, the importance of communication is increasing. We need writers, broadcasters, reporters and social media professionals to ensure factual information is clearly presented to consumers.

Home economists, dietitians and teachers have opportunities with every commodity group and organizations such as Ag in the Classroom, Farm & Food Care and The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity.

Manufacturing and engineering continue to evolve we strive to farm more efficiently. Computer programming, GPS and precision technology are all key in every aspect of our industry.

How about event planning? Conferences, trade shows, tours, meetings, educational and community-connection events all require skilled organizers and promoters.

The business of producing food for a growing world with limited resources is a complex team sport. There are so many facets to chose from – pursue an interest you’re passionate about and join our team! We’re excited to see what you bring to the table.


Check out these great videos showcasing the opportunities waiting for you!

Your Life – Your Agriculture  and Dreams Can Come True with Agriculture

A GMO by any other name would smell sweeter

Originally published March 19, 2015 in the Manitoba Cooperator

The terminology used to describe modern plant breeding gives it a bad name


Canola in bloom

Canola in bloom

Google reveals a plethora of ideas for “How to choose a name.” It has suggestions for your baby, your dog, your business, your blog and more.

Have you ever wondered what the discussion would be around food and agriculture if plant scientists sought similar advice when naming genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? They’re immersed in science, their everyday field, and the terminology of their everyday language. “Transgenic plant breeding” and “biotech crops” are also used to describe the breeding methods, but the terminology has created fear, apprehension and misunderstanding for many consumers. Even when people do not know what a GMO is they believe they should be feared and avoided. For an example, see “What’s a GMO?” for Jimmy Kimmel’s take on the subject.

So instead of technology moving forward to provide solutions to drought, famine and disease it sits on a shelf while a heated public debate ensues.

But where would we be if a different name had been chosen? GMOs are a precise extension of conventional plant breeding, changing only one to three genes instead of 10,000 to 800,000. It takes less than five years to develop a new variety as opposed to five to 30 years. It is a straightforward, accurate, timely and effective process. Humans have been manipulating plant genetics for more than 10,000 years but only recently have breeding practices been called into question. Is it possible the name contributed to the skepticism?

Would have “precision plant breeding” better suited the process? Would have it instilled confidence instead of fear? Enthusiasm instead of activism? We will never know, but as the #farmtofood conversation continues to grow, perhaps we should re-examine the terminology we use and the names we choose.

If we are to bridge the gap between science, industry and consumer, care should be taken to ensure our language is building bridges of understanding not fences of fear. A name needs to be representative and descriptive but should also be clear and concise to all.