For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a laywer; I wanted to be part of leading our country into a brighter and more prosperous future. I knew that I wanted to spend my adult life in a business suit and that I wanted to make a difference in the world. But over the last two years, I have somehow found myself coming full circle and wanting to remain in the agricultural sector.
Unlike most people in Newfoundland and Labrador, I grew up a little differently. I’m a 100% home grown farm girl. To this day whenever I tell people I live on a farm I still get the same reaction: disbelief. “You don’t wear overalls and plaid shirts, you wear heels…You can’t be a farm girl.” Then it’s usually followed with questions about getting up at 5 a.m. every morning or if I drive a tractor to school instead of a car.
Growing up on a farm really taught me a lot (and not just the obvious things like driving a tractor). Most of it was around the core values you gain. I learned at an early age the value of hard work, and the success that can come when you remain focused. My grandfather moved to Newfoundland from England and started not only a vet clinic but also an egg farm from next to nothing. Thirty years later my grandfather passed the farm onto my father who took it further than either of them thought possible. Both my grandfather and my father had a vision and proved that hardwork and deadication can go a long way.
Despite having agriculture in my blood, I still never saw agriculture as a career path for me and I credit that to not being exposed to it in school. One in eight people in Canada work in the agriculture sector, but yet you never see presentations on it in school, and you are never exposed to the diverse array of jobs related to agriculture. Just think about it, when is the last time you heard a child say they wanted to be a farmer when they grow up. It doesn’t happen because the next generation, for whatever reason, doesn’t hold a career as a farmer as a viable option.
I will be the first to admit it, as a farm girl myself I never thought the sector was right for me because I was only exposed to a small part of it. My path to working in the ag sector was a little different than most. After graduating high school everyone expected me to go to Truro and complete some kind of degree related to ag, but instead I went to MUN and did a joint degree in Commerce and Economics, and became part of a group called Enactus Memorial. Enactus Memorial is a student run volunteer organization ran out of MUN that focuses on creating community outreach projects with an entrepreneurial spin that improve the quality of life and standard of living of its participants. Our team was looking to start a project in the ag sector, and I came up with the idea of creating a dual auditing program: reduce and reuse basis. In the reduce audit we evaluate their current practices to see what small changes can be implimented to deduce their triple bottom line (ex. LED lights). The reuse audit identifies what waste products farmers can use to create green energy or revenue generating assets like compost. The more I became involved with the ag sector and dealing with farmers, the more I realized that this was where I belonged. Today I am working in the financial lending side of the ag sector, and I truly can’t see myself anywhere else. I may not be a laywer, but I am still making a difference and creating a sustainable future through the ag sector.
As part of the next generation I know there is a problem and that we need to be exposed to the endless opportunities in ag. The future is changing and many jobs will become obsolete, but we will always need food. I don’t know what the solution is, but our generation needs to be educated.