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Co-op offers support and mentorship for ag students

By Dan Yates

January 4, 2017

The next generation of ag leaders are getting a leg up from Co-op.

With two new additions this fall, Co-op has now awarded comprehensive scholarship packages to 19 agriculture students since 2013, when it launched the Co-op Excellence in Ag Program.

Each Co-op Excellence in Ag recipient receives up to $20,000 to fund their education, as well as paid summer internships and the opportunity to secure future employment — including a signing bonus — within the Co-operative Retailing System (CRS).

The 2017 Co-op Excellence in Ag recipients are:

  • James Macaskill (Saskatoon, Sask.), a first-year student at the University of Saskatchewan studying agribusiness.
  • Danielle Chamberland (St. Paul, Alta.), a first-year student at Olds College studying agricultural management.

Education and experience

Macaskill and Chamberland will receive scholarship money for the winter semester and begin working at a Co-op Agro Centre in Western Canada this summer, where they will monitor field trials, scout crops and assist with soil tests, all while honing many of the other skills needed to provide growers with meaningful and relevant agronomic services.

Since the program’s inception, two Co-op Excellence in Ag recipients have graduated to full-time careers at Co-op Agro Centres, while another three will advance in 2017.

"It kind of accelerates your whole career,” said Braden Koroscil, who was accepted into the Co-op Excellence in Ag Program in 2016.

Koroscil spent the summer working at the Co-op Agro Centre in Minto, Man., where he worked alongside experienced Co-op Grow Team agronomists, attended field tours and scouted fields with an agricultural drone.

"You get an opportunity to meet so many different people and gain so much knowledge and experience in a very condensed timeline,” he said.

To hear more firsthand accounts from Co-op Excellence in Ag recipients — or to apply to the program yourself — see coopag.ca.

Applications for the 2018 Co-op Excellence in Ag Program will be accepted until Oct. 31, 2017.