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Canada: New crop of students exploring agriculture and food
That's just the path 65 students who have earned $1,500 Monsanto Fund Opportunity Scholarships are starting down as they enter their first year of agriculture or food-related studies at Canadian universities and colleges this fall. Unique to the winners' list this year is a student who grew up on an Alpaca farm in the Yukon.
"Farming in the isolated north has its own unique set of challenges where the winters are brutally long, the climate is unforgivingly dry and the cost of supplies ridiculously high," wrote Kataya Ulrich from Northern Spirit Alpaca Farm located just outside the city limits of Whitehorse, Yukon. "But global warming is beginning to alter the realities of our harsh climate. Our winters are not as cold and we are experiencing more moisture and a longer growing season. The agricultural economy is growing and with the right focus, I think it has the potential for great success."
Traditionally the Monsanto Fund Opportunity Scholarship Program required applicants to be from a farm and entering agriculture or an agricultural-related field of study. In honour of the program's 25th anniversary last year, and the recognition of the close connection between farming and food, eligibility for the Opportunity Scholarship Program was extended to students pursuing studies in food-related fields of study, regardless of whether they grew up on a farm or not.
"Our program has always been about supporting young people in their pursuit of a diploma or degree in agriculture because we need the very best to consider agriculture as a career path so our industry can continue to grow and prosper," said Trish Jordan, director of public and industry affairs with Monsanto Canada. "Our decision to open up the program to students interested in a food-related career was driven by a desire to close the gap between farming and food. It also acknowledges that agriculture truly is all about food."
Thousands of deserving Canadian students have received a total of more than $1.9 million since the scholarship program launched using corporate funds in 1991. Transition to the Monsanto Fund in 2012 has enabled more students to win scholarships due to consistent funding for the program.
All applications were reviewed by an independent judging panel comprised of: Robert Adamson, consultant and program director with Pembina Trails School Division; Johanne Ross, Executive Director of Agriculture in the Classroom-Canada.; JoAnne Buth, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian International Grains Institute; Crystal Jorgenson, Communications Specialist with the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba; Ellen Pruden, Education and Promotion Manager for the Manitoba Canola Growers Association; and Brigitte Burgoyne, Communications Manager, Richardson International.
Administered on behalf of the Monsanto Fund by Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba Inc. (AITC-M), the scholarship program received 156 applications from across Canada this year.
"We are thrilled to serve as the independent administrator of the Monsanto Fund Opportunity Scholarship Program," said Sue Clayton, executive director of AITC-M. "Our organization is focused on connecting students to agriculture, exposing them to the role agriculture plays in their lives and opening their eyes to the many opportunities available to build a career in agriculture. It's rewarding for us to see so many students wanting to explore education and careers in agriculture."
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Other news in this sector:
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- 2022-12-01 Race to emission-free greenhouse cultivation pushes growers to keep innovating
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