Kick Start Your Ag Career

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Kick Start Your Ag Career

Whether you’re a grower, agronomist, retailer or researcher, the future of agriculture looks bright.

For young people entering the field, the opportunities to earn experience — and get paid — begin long before school is finished.

“One of my favourite things is that when you’re in university, you can have a summer job in the industry,” said Kaylee Morris, a third-year student at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources. “You’re learning all through university.”

As part of the Excellence in Ag Program, Morris is spending her summer at the Co-op Agro Centre in Saskatoon, Sask., where she’s gaining valuable experience working alongside Co-op AG Team members.

Over the summer months, she’ll scout fields and assist in providing agronomic services and products to farm customers. Across Western Canada, 13 other Excellence in Ag recipients are kick starting their careers in the same way.

Learning in the field

Every year, the Co-operative Retailing System welcomes up to four post-secondary students studying agriculture or agribusiness into its Excellence in Ag Program. The comprehensive, multi-year program includes:

  • 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.

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.

“With the evolution of agronomy knowledge, precision and digital agriculture and countless other advancements, there has never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture,” said Trish Meyers, PAg, CCA, Knowledge and Innovation Manager at Federated Co-operatives Limited.

“Every day, the Co-op AG Team helps growers adopt these exciting innovations. With valuable real-world experience, our Excellence in Ag students will enter the workforce with the knowledge and skill-set needed to build a rewarding career and help growers address new and emerging opportunities and challenges.”

Local leaders

Today, the agriculture and agri-food industry accounts for one in eight jobs in Canada and the demand for young people who are passionate about food production is growing.

“Whether you want an office job or to be out in the field in the mud, there are so many opportunities. If you look at other industries, that doesn’t happen,” said Dana Riley, a fourth-year student at the University of Saskatchewan and an Excellence in Ag recipient.

“When I applied for the scholarship, I was considering taking a year off. It was really the deciding factor, because it was just an amazing opportunity. It would be like saying no to the lottery.”

Applications for the 2017 Excellence in Ag Program are currently open until October 15, 2016. For more information, or to apply, click here.

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