First, I would like to extend a huge thank you to the sponsors for providing us with the opportunity to participate in the Advancing Ag program. For those of you who are not familiar, the Advancing Ag program pairs young industry professionals with a mentor for the year. During this time, frequent meetings and discussion with your mentor will help shape your path in the agriculture industry. In addition, Advancing Ag provides funding and opportunities to attend events to develop careers and interpersonal skills.
During my time in the Advancing Ag program, I was very fortunate to be paired with Sarah Foster, president of 20/20 Seed Labs based in Nisku, Alberta. Sarah is an amazing mentor and has a wealth of knowledge regarding both agriculture and business. Over the course of the year, I had many engaging conversations with Sarah regarding the future of ag and prospects of starting my own ag business surrounding crop development and biotechnology. I had the chance to visit 20/20 Seed Labs and check out the molecular facility and headquarters, which was very impressive to say the least! I also attended FarmTech 2019 in Edmonton, Alberta with my mentor. During this time, I was able to connect with several professionals in multiple sectors across the agriculture industry.
Participation in Advancing Ag also provided opportunities to attend events including TasteTech and the Calgary Stampede Agriculture and Agri-Food reception. These events were a great way to network with industry professionals, which was one of my main objectives coming into the program. One of the highlights of the Advancing Ag program was a leadership training seminar hosted in Banff, Alberta. There were many speakers who helped us understand different personality types and how we can become better leaders and communicators.
Since the Advancing Ag program does have a budget for career development, I decided to attend the International Rapeseed Congress in Berlin, Germany. This was a fantastic international event that brought Canola and OSR scientists together from across the globe. During the conference, I was able to present my research which focuses on the use of genetic engineering to reduce green seed Canola and pod shatter. I also had the opportunity to meet and connect with prospective employers and other scientists to establish research collaborations.
The Advancing Ag program was a great experience and I would highly recommend any interested individuals to apply! This program has provided many great opportunities to interact with other agriculture professionals and has sparked many friendships with other participants in the program! I would also like to thank my mentor Sarah Foster, who has really provided great insight and advice that will be very helpful in my future endeavours.