The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association has launched its first ever young farmer mentorship program.
The program was established with support from Canadian Pacific Kansas City Rail (CPKC).
The Saskatchewan Director and Treasurer with the Wheat Growers, Kaitlyn Kitzan, says this program is important to her, as she first joined the organization, coming out of university, without much knowledge of the work involved in agriculture policy.
“I knew nothing about agriculture policy and why it was important to the agriculture community, especially my farm,” she said. “Over the last few years I’ve learned so much, I’ve really expanded my network, got some great experiences, lobbying government at a provincial and federal level, and this was kind of my way to ensure other young farmers get involved in agriculture policy.”
Getting them involved and informed with agriculture policy is the primary focus of the program.
“Our hope is that we’ll bring young farmers with us to Ottawa, with us to difference conferences and conventions that our board attends to give them experience and dip their toes into agriculture policy – everything from trade policy to transportation to environmental – and the hope is that they stay involved…and maybe one day even join our board as a director.” Kitzan said.
She noted CPKC and the Wheat Growers have a common interest in building the next generation of farm leaders.
“CP(KC) reached out to us and we kind of reached out to them and there was this joint interest on supporting young farmers to get more involved in policy, as we tend to see – I hate to say it but – the ‘old boys club’ around the agriculture policy table,” Kitzan explained. “It was important for CP(KC) and us to kind of join forces to really invite young farmers to those tables and get them involved, so CP is kind of our title sponsor for our first ever program.”
The Wheat Growers are looking for two farmers under the age of 35 from the Peace River District of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and/or Manitoba.
The application window is open today (Tues) until November 1st, and the successful candidates will be announced November 15th. Application details are on the Wheat Growers website.