REGINA – Over 200 high school students heard from agriculture experts about the current state of the industry as well as possible job opportunities.
Speakers at the first ever Agri-Environment Networking Conference also looked to break down some misconceptions about farming jobs, as well as encourage students to pursue careers in the industry.
“It’s trying to introduce young people to concepts in agriculture. There’s a biotech industry, there’s sales, there’s marketing. It’s not just driving a tractor,” Canadian Western Agribition CEO Marty Seymour said.
Last year the province exported $15 billion in agri-food products, hitting a target they didn’t expect to reach for another five years.
However, as the global population increases, so too does the need for workers.
“One in eight jobs in Canada is in the agriculture/agri-food industry,” Sara Shymk of Agriculture in the Classroom explained.
“There’s tremendous opportunity and as the world needs more food and innovation that creates more opportunities and careers that some don’t even exist right now.”
The conference was an eye opener for Dayna Pearce, who despite having family in the farming industry, knew little about the different job possibilities.
“He talked about sex and agriculture. I found that really interesting. Because it involves science and agriculture. Like that part of it is what I find interesting, compared to the farming part,” she said.
“The disconnect between urban and rural continues to grow,” Seymour said.
“You know agriculture is really inviting but it’s intimidating for somebody young from the city who’s never been around a cow or combine, so our goal is to make that welcome, introduce them to what we do.”
It’s that introduction that has put a job in agriculture on Pearce’s radar. What she never considered an option, has now become a possibility.