First off, I would I like to thank Alberta Barley and the Alberta Wheat Commission for the opportunity to be apart of this ag mentee/mentorship program. This is an amazing opportunity to broaden my social network and knowledge base. It is amazing to be able to discuss with another younger person in the industry, who has a different perspective to marketing grain. It’s hard to believe that I have already been a part of this program for four months. I feel that I have set up a busy fall/winter for myself with harvest and conferences coming up but I can’t wait.
I guess I better introduce myself: grew up with on a mixed farm east of Irma, Alberta. Involved early in the local 4-H light horse and beef clubs for 9 years. Hockey took me to the University of Saskatchewan where I was able to pursue my interest in plant pathology, by completing my Bachelor of Science in Agronomy. After graduating I was hired as an Assistant Agriculture Fieldman for Flagstaff County. Here, the Agricultural Department works to manage noxious weeds and communicate with local producers on relevant agriculture issues through extension events. Recently married a farm boy from Lougheed, AB where I now call home. Currently, my husband and I are working toward successional management of the family grain farm and a small commercial cow/calf operation, while building a new homestead.
My mentor, Brennan hails from Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, his deep knowledge of agriculture comes from hands-on experience and years of exposure. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics at Yale University, where he played Hockey for the Bulldogs. Prior to founding FarmLead, Brennan worked in commodity and trend analysis at Hedgeye Risk Management. He splits his time between Ottawa, Chicago, and meeting with farmers and grain buyers across North America. He feels that his career has created value for many farmers’ bottom line. He values his family support and summers spent at the lake with them. I am currently still learning more about Farmlead every time Brennan and I talk but it truly is a different way to market grain.
I feel that the Advancing Ag program is set up nicely, you have to be organized but they set some deadlines for a bit of structure. We are able to build our own area of study. You choose what you want to build on; with your mentor you have to set out five objectives.
My five objectives include:
Grain marketing knowledge
Creating a marketing plan
Using my background of agronomy to create a correlation between grain marketing.
Confidence to speak to a larger group (AGvocacy)
Increase my social media presence
Brennan has created homework studies to master my skills. Some include just reading about the markets, reading his blog the Breakfast Brief (under Farmlead) and creating a chart that follows the different elevators in our area. My husband thinks that we are rather lucky to have the equipment (trucks) to haul to seven different elevators in the area. I am currently creating a chart that covers the grain we grow, the price each elevator is offering as a comparison. We try to talk every two weeks to make sure we are on the same page and so Brennan can answer any questions I have.
Anyone reading this feel free to reach out to me with questions about the program or how to get involved next year, through my twitter handle @KelseyFenton. Thank you again for the opportunity Alberta Barley and Alberta Wheat Commission.