New opportunities for ag students

New opportunities for ag students

Every year, the Co-operative Retailing System welcomes four new students into its Excellence in Ag Program, a comprehensive scholarship for students studying agriculture and agribusiness. The deadline to apply for this year’s program is Oct. 15, 2016. Apply for the Excellence in Ag Program today.

Braden Koroscil had a busy summer, but the third-year agriculture student likes it that way.

Only a few weeks ago, he was wading through chest-high fields of canola, gathering data for a provincial weed survey. Before that, he was setting traps to monitor bertha armyworms, scouting crops and piloting an agricultural drone.

Not bad for a summer job.

“I don’t know how many hours I put on that drone this summer,” said Koroscil, a University of Manitoba student and future agronomist who spent the summer serving grower-customers at the Co-op Agro Centre in Minto, Man.

“It’s a really powerful tool for us to use in terms of time saved and just getting better information from the fields. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Endless opportunities

Koroscil’s summer position is one of the perks of the Co-op Excellence in Ag Program, which supports agriculture and agribusiness students with:

  • Up to $20,000 in scholarships.
  • Paid summer internships for up to three years at a retail Co-op Agro Centre in Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta.
  • Opportunities for full-time employment — including a signing bonus — following completion of post-secondary education.

“It kind of accelerates your whole career,” said Koroscil, who grew up on a mixed farm in Birtle, Man. “You get an opportunity to meet so many different people and gain so much knowledge and experience in a very condensed timeline.”

Real-world experience

In Minto, Koroscil worked alongside agronomist Mitch Bohrn, who taught him about the different cropping systems in southern Manitoba, which can include peas, sunflowers and soybeans.

Over the summer, Koroscil learned the ins and outs of the region by walking fields, attending as many crop tours as possible and participating in Bohrn’s consultations with growers.

“Being able to analyze a couple different locations is definitely a benefit for him in the long run,” said Bohrn, Tech.Ag. “With more experience this year and in the coming years, he’ll have lots of relationships and built-in connections.”

Set yourself up for success

Since launching in 2013, two students have completed the Excellence in Ag Program and have graduated to full-time careers at Co-op Agro Centres. Fifteen more, including Koroscil, are well on their way.

“I decided to make a career out of agriculture because it was something I’ve been around my whole life,” said Koroscil. “Now, as I get more and more involved, I’m even more passionate than I was when I started.”

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