Mentee: Ashley Smith
I was born and raised in Central Alberta, on a family cow/calf operation. My participation in youth breed associations and the Alberta 4H program nurtured my passion for Canadian Agriculture at a very young age. After High School, I moved south and made the transition from livestock to crops, completing a BSc. in Agriculture Biotechnology/Agri-Business at the University of Lethbridge. I began my career as a professional agronomist first with UFA, and then with roles in sales agronomy (retail) and territory management with Bayer & BASF. Along with my husband Trevor and son Callen, I am relocating from our home in Dawson Creek, BC to Calgary, Alberta in order to take on a Brand Manager role with BASF where I will manage our Canadian Inoculants portfolio.
The opportunity to participate in the Advancing Ag Leadership program as a mentee is thrilling for me, as I open this new chapter in my professional life—moving from a role focused on daily interactions with producers, to one where I consider the bigger picture and drive innovation for the future of agriculture production. To make this transition, I want to expand my understanding of producer-industry cooperation, corporate structure, regulatory policies, and political collaboration. I am striving to bring a fresh, experientially grounded perspective from my time in the field with producers over the last 11 years into the corporate agriculture marketing sector. A few key principles I plan to focus on are: (1) cultivating public trust in our industry, (2) enhancing adaptability of our primary producers to consumer demand and changes in diet, and (3) developing a deeper understanding of the pressures our industry faces regarding the “license to farm” connecting our consumer fork to producer fields.
I would like to thank the Alberta Wheat & Barley Commission and with the AdvancingAg Leadership sponsors for the incredible opportunity to participate as a 2019/20 mentee.