What would you think if your parents told you at 12 you’d be moving to another country on another continent? Well, today’s RealAg LIVE! guest embraced what that new country had to offer and ran with it.

Joining our host Kara Oosterhuis, Jess Verstappen talks about what led her to a career in agriculture, the debate about whether to be involved with livestock or crops (or both), and what she’s excited about after being named in the Upstart category of Agribition’s Top 50 in Agriculture.

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  • Jess was named to the Upstart! category in the Top 50 in Canadian Agriculture
  • Career path is in crop production, but she was initially interested (and still is) in livestock
  • 4-H kept her in agriculture — there wasn’t anything like that in Holland!
  • Went down to Texas for a stock show, Brahma ranches, and genetic sites
  • They worry about it being “too hot” at calving, in February of all months. A very different world!
  • Different cropping, different risks, different pasture availability
  • What is sustainability?
  • What’s sustainable for the business isn’t always sustainable for the land
  • Farming in the Netherlands is a privilege, and not a realistic option for many as a career
  • Their farm in the Peace River region is a certified predator and wildlife-friendly farm
  • She loves showing cows and the purebred business
  • Would love to travel to Argentina one day (makes sense, there’s crops and cattle there)
  • Mentorship is something she enjoys, too. Likes to put on judging clinics
  • Her own mentors are really meaningful
  • Developing a leadership philosophy? It’s early in her career, but it’s something she thinks about
  • Her mum is from South Africa, her dad from Holland. They did grazing projects with sheep there
  • When they moved to Canada, when she was 12, they went to northern Alberta
  • Lots of nature! Close to Crown land
  • So much less opportunity to farm in Holland
  • SO. MUCH. LAND. In Canada.
  • Advice for young people curious bout agriculture? Agriculture is welcoming. Ask questions and get involved!

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