GFM Network News


After growing up on a ranch in the BSE era, Echlin looked for a path that would give her much more control. That meant studying political science before starting to farm.

A different school

For Vance Lester and Sue Echlin, getting a non-agricultural education proved a big help when they returned to the farm

Reading Time: 6 minutes Graduate degrees in ecology and international relations don’t seem the kind of education that would be likely to help on a Canadian farm. But that’s where we might be wrong. For Sue Echlin and Vance Lester, that kind of schooling has been instrumental in their launching a fruit-growing and winery business, and in keeping it […] Read more

Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC).

Jobs survey finds growing demand for agriculture graduates

Ontario Agriculture College boosts spots in its agriculture programs by 30 per cent

Reading Time: 3 minutes The University of Guelph continues to increase enrolment in its agriculture programs, but graduates will continue to find four jobs available for each of them. The Ontario Agriculture College (OAC), at the university has boosted spots in its agriculture programs by 30 per cent since 2012 and by 50 per cent in its Bachelor of […] Read more


You meet people from all over the world, so you have to learn to work with others,” says Andria Karstens. “The more you do this, the better you get at it.”

Study abroad

More young people, including young farmers, are heading overseas to expand the skills they’ll bring back home

Reading Time: 5 minutes Of all the ways a person can prepare for a career, spending time far from the classroom and away from familiar surroundings may actually have the most impact. Lisa Blenkinsop, manager of the Studies Abroad program at the University of Guelph, hears this feedback over and over again from students who have spent time studying […] Read more

The “FFA” stands for Future Farmers of America, yet none of these urban Chicago students had any farm background before attending CHSAS.

Chicago high school turning learners into leaders

Near the top in the academic rankings in Chicago, the Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences is transforming city kids into graduates eager for careers in agriculture

Reading Time: 5 minutes Rarely does someone wish they could go back to high school, but that was certainly the feeling I had when I toured a school in Chicago last June during my Nuffield Scholarship. The institution is about 30 km south of downtown Chicago, and in many ways, it is a standard high school. It has lockers, […] Read more



I am more of a hands-on learner,” says Meagan Schwenk-Gattey, who adds, “I strongly encourage students to look into it.”

Alberta’s Green Certificate

This high school program lets students graduate by gaining agricultural and on-farm experience

Reading Time: 5 minutes Agriculture is all about cultivating, nurturing and producing, so it’s no coincidence that a unique and highly successful high school training program in Alberta is using those exact words to describe its vision. “The Green Certificate Program cultivates partnerships, and allows us to nurture Alberta’s youth to produce the province’s agricultural future,” says Raelene Mercer,[...]
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Build your kids’ math skills

To excel at farming, your children will need better math skills than they may be getting at school. Here’s how to help

Reading Time: 4 minutes Despite the billions of dollars spent on education each year, student math test scores continue to fall in most of Canada. The alarming statistics don’t bode well for the success of future generations. Like reading, math is a fundamental skill, necessary for success in life and work. John Mighton who established JUMP Math, a tutoring[...]
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Time to get cooking

These farm groups are building lifelong customers by teaching kids how to help themselves in the kitchen

Reading Time: 4 minutes For more and more of today’s kids, basic cooking skills are a lost art. With two parents working non-stop and with a full slate of after-school activities for the kids, families are eating more prepared meals or picking up food on the go. Mary Carver, food literacy specialist at the Ontario Home Economists Association (OHEA)[...]
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If we want the best and brightest kids to look at agriculture, Parker says, we must invest in really connecting with their lives.

Better ag education

Getting more young Canadians more interested in working in agriculture can be an achievable goal, says Becky Parker, whose Nuffield scholarship is supported by Glacier FarmMedia. First, though, we need to learn some lessons for ourselves

Reading Time: 5 minutes If you need to make a big splash, says Nuffield scholar Becky Parker, throw a big rock. A lot of little stones will only create a lot of little ripples. It’s an insight that Parker has brought home from her Nuffield tour of Britain, New Zealand and Australia, and it’s among the strategies that she[...]
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Editor’s Desk: Test the next generation

Reading Time: 2 minutes I can’t help thinking we’d all be better off if some of those exuberant FCC T-shirts that shout “100% Farm Boy” or “Future Farmer” would curb their enthusiasm just a notch. Yes, it’s a great time in agriculture, all things considered, and yes, agriculture is a great place to be, but we should think twice[...]
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