GROWMARK, Inc. is a regional co-operative that provides agriculture-related products and services to farmers and rural residents in Ontario and the United States through local FS member co-operatives and by GROWMARK subsidiaries. The Ontario FS System represent close to 32,000 members, 1,500 employees, and close to 90,000 customers.
For GROWMARK – now in its 86th year – it’s been important to be involved in youth development. We know that youth are the future leaders in agriculture – be it farming, agribusiness or as government influencers.
For us, we feel one great way to engage and support young people in ag is to hear about how young people view the future of agriculture from young leaders first-hand.
Each year GROWMARK invites youth delegates from 4-H Ontario , the Co-operative Young Leaders Program, Junior Farmers Association of Ontario, and FFA in the United States to take part in its Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Four young people are chosen to give a two-minute speech on a variety of topics such as youth leadership, co-operative values and principles and the future of agriculture to a large audience of delegates, directors, employees and friends of GROWMARK.
The videos below feature two of the young ag leaders who spoke at our meetings. Will Heeman spoke at our 2007 AGM and Nicole Atkins spoke in 2010 on their views on agriculture technology and the future of agriculture. Both are Co-operative Young Leader graduates.
About the Co-operative Young Leader Program:
Created in 1967 by United Co-operatives of Ontario, the Co-operative Young Leaders program has been in existence for almost 50 years. Now run by the Ontario Co-operative Association, CYL has offered training and personal development opportunities to approximately 3,000 young people from the age of 14-19. Many graduates go on to become facilitators at CYL or become more involved in their co-op sponsors, their communities or co-ops in general.