Potato researcher Colby Robertson, mixed animal veterinarian Carling Matejka and biotech company worker B Pratyusha Chennupati, have been picked as members for the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council, Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, says in a news release on July 24.
Robertson is currently working as an agricultural summer student for a potato processing business in southern Alberta. He grew up an acreage near a small Manitoba town with a rich agricultural history. He received his bachelor of science in agriculture and the University of Manitoba and recently completed his master of science at the University of Lethbridge with a focus on commercial potato production.
“A priority I have as a council member is to investigate and recommend improvements for aiding young agriculturalists in accessing capital for starting their own business. Additionally, I will seek opportunities to improve succession planning and address its role in ensuring Canadian farms continue to be sustainable,” Robertson says in the release.
“I am a female mixed animal veterinarian, a fourth generation farmer, and lived in a large city for seven years. I can relate to the struggles that farmers may have but also provide a medical veterinary perspective to the many issues facing agriculture today. Furthermore, because of my encounters with the urban population, I hear concerns they may express about agriculture and can assist in their understanding,” Matejka says in the release.
“Having a unique skillset of engineering, sciences, and regulatory affairs background, I see opportunity in every challenge posed in agriculture. Working in a start-up and established ag-biotech company helped me think not just about the farm level practices but to have a strategy for a short and long-term vision for markets beyond the farm,” Chennupati says in the release.
The three were chosen from more than 800 applications. Their fellow council members represent a diverse mix of subsectors from across the agriculture and agri-food sector, as well as from every province and the North, the release notes.
The 25 council members will act as a consultative body to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. It will have the opportunity to offer suggestions on government policies, as well as identify problems and propose solutions on issues that matter most to them, all while developing leadership skills and building professional relationships.
The inaugural virtual meeting of the group will take place in August.