The Saskatchewan Agriculture Student Scholarship Program is now accepting applications
January 5, 2021, 1:25 pm
Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Applications are now being accepted for the 2021 Saskatchewan Agriculture Student Scholarship Program. The program is focussed on giving graduating high school students in Saskatchewan interested in the Ag industry an avenue to continue studying agriculture in post-secondary and help contribute to the sector.
The Saskatchewan Agriculture Student Scholarship Program invites grade 12 students and recent high school graduates who are planning to take agriculture-related post-secondary education beginning in the fall of 2021 to apply. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2021.
This year’s theme is ‘transparency.’ Applicants for the scholarship are encouraged to explore what transparency is and how it is connected to the public’s perception of modern agriculture.
Submissions to the program should answer one of the guiding questions about the theme of transparency. The guiding questions are, what does transparency in modern agriculture look like? And, what can the agriculture industry do to improve its transparency?
To apply, students are asked to submit a creative three-minute video or 1,000-word essay discussing transparency in agriculture. The submissions will be judged and one scholarship of $4,000 and three runner-up scholarships of $2,000 will be awarded.
Along with the video or written submission, students must provide a letter of conditional acceptance to a post-secondary institution and provide a letter of recommendation from either a teacher/professor, agriculture industry leader, or community leader.
Videos and written submissions will be judged by a review committee based on: alignment with the theme provided, development of ideas, structure and clarity, creativity and quality, and professionalism. Leadership qualities and school/community involvement in letters of recommendation will also be taken into consideration. The Ministry of Agriculture reserves the right to publish or promote all submissions as deemed appropriate.
For more information on the Saskatchewan Agriculture Student Scholarship Program, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/ag-scholarship. The award is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $388 million investment in strategic initiatives by the federal and provincial governments.
The scholarship encourages constructive conversations about where food comes from and how everyone along the value-chain, from the field to table, shares a role in communicating about food production.
“The Agriculture Student Scholarship Program is an opportunity for our province’s youth to help tell industry’s story,” Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit said. “By encouraging the best and brightest young minds to pursue a career in agriculture, we are helping to ensure the future success of this important sector.”
The basis of the scholarship program is for the Ag industry to hear new ideas while also providing a stepping stone for the younger generation in the province interested in agriculture.
“Young people are key to the continued growth and prosperity of Canada’s agricultural sector,” said Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. “This scholarship program will give young leaders the help they need to pursue their studies and embark on a rewarding career in the sector.”
The 2020 winner of the scholarship program, Mackenzie Van Damme, submitted an essay that highlighted the impact of agriculture on Saskatchewan, specifically her own community, Imperial. Her essay also touched on genetically modified organisms, new technology in the agriculture sector and how innovation has modernized farms and increased sustainability across the industry.
“The scholarship has offered me so much,” said Van Damme. “By helping to fund my education, I’m able to learn all about agriculture, meet new people and spark an even greater passion for the field.”
Van Damme is furthering her education at the University of Saskatchewan. She plans to obit a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture with a focus on agronomy.
The Ministry of Agriculture believes the scholarship program is one of the most important parts of what they do because these students are the future of the Ag industry and this gives them a path to sharing their ideas while helping with their education.
“We’ve been doing the scholarship for a number of years now,” said Marit. “It’s just something to help grade 12 students that are looking at post-secondary education in the agriculture realm. We’ve been offering it for quite a while and what we do is theme it every year. This year the theme is transparency with not just transparency in the agriculture, but a focus on public trust and where that can lead.
“Applicants can either do an essay or a video and then we have a panel of industry people and government/ministry folks as well who look at them and judge them. Then the first place winner gets a $4,000 bursary and then the other finalists get a $2,000 bursary so it’s something we’ve done to help the younger generation interested in the Ag industry. I think it really adds to students who are engaged in the Ag industry or want to be engaged in the Ag industry with an opportunity for funding towards their post-secondary education.
“We also get some pretty good ideas from it and get an understanding of what kids are thinking. It’s something we’re really quite proud of and it’s in partnership with the federal government through the CAP funding.”
Marit says that it’s not just about giving these students a helping hand, but truly hearing from them with fresh ideas and learning about where the younger generation sees the Ag industry going in the future.
“It’s really quite good,” he said. “It gives them an opportunity to showcase what piques their interest in the Ag industry and where their focus is. Obviously, for a person who has been farming all their life, like myself, it’s really kind of neat to see these young kids with some of the ideas they have and where they think agriculture is going.
“It builds on everything that’s happening around the Ag sector here in the province when you look at value-added, new technology, and everything. It’s quite a circle right now and it’s pretty dynamic and interesting to be around right now. It’s always good to know what the younger generation is thinking.”