The Canadian Agriculture Human Resource Council (CAHRC) is announcing the launch of a new partnership with the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER) to create an agriculture-focused business case competition for Canadian post-secondary students from any discipline.

The goal of the partnership — made possible through the Government of Canada — is to increase the number of post-secondary students considering agriculture as a career choice. Research conducted by CAHRC has shown that there will be a need for 123,000 more workers in agriculture by 2029. As the council says, innovative programs such as this one are essential to draw the next generation of Canadians into the agri-workforce.

Jennifer Wright, acting executive director at CAHRC, says there is a real need to explore untapped labour sources as we look to the future of the agri-workforce.

“Agriculture offers outstanding opportunities and we need to expand awareness of these opportunities to students in more general disciplines such as science, information technology, business, or marketing. We are excited to introduce post-secondary students to the rewarding careers available across the value-chain,” says Wright.

Launched this fall, the business case competition is co-designed with BHER, students, educators, and employer advisory groups. Working to solve real-life business problems, students from agriculture and non-agriculture backgrounds, such as STEM and business faculties, will collaborate, network, and connect with employers involved in the project.

Under-represented groups, such as women, newcomers, Indigenous students, and students with disabilities are encouraged to join the business case competition and bring diversity and innovation to solving agriculture’s unique challenges. Participation in the program will benefit students, educators, and employers alike as they share ideas and expand networks for future career opportunities.

Three post-secondary campuses have signed on to take part in the business case competition this fall including: Fanshawe College at London, ON; Lakeland College at Vermillion, AB; and Northern Farm Training Institute at Hay River, N.W.T.

Following the completion of campus-based competitions, the top teams from each school will take part in a national competition in winter 2022.

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