John Deere Equipment distributor Green Diamond representatives Stephani Allison, left, and Krista Prescott point out some information to Grade 9 teacher Peter Carswell. Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Today’s farm industry is more than barns, fields, crops and animals. It offers career opportunities in high-tech, engineering, science, trades and business. 

On Thursday, March 30, 2023 Carleton North High School hosted its Ag Expo, with 19 exhibitors offering middle and high school students a first-hand look at opportunities beyond working in fields and barns. 

Green Diamond Equipment, the distributor of the iconic John Deere farm equipment, was one of the many exhibitors showcasing the agriculture industry’s changing career landscape. 

“We’re now known as a technology company,” said Green Diamond Director of Human Resources Krista Prescott. 

The list of career opportunities, including educational requirements, on the John Deere booth’s many display boards, emphasized Prescott’s perspective. It included nine career paths in the company, 

The list included IT professionals, accountants, Red Seal technicians, HR, marketing, payroll and administrative professionals, and sales and parts representatives. 

Green Diamond marketing professional Stephani Allison said students showed interest in the career opportunities on display. 

Valerie Carmichael, Anglophone School District West community engagement schools coordinator, said they designed the March 30 event to expand student awareness of the modern farm and associated industries.

She said the expo also took on a “sustainable theme,” with many exhibitors showcasing their environmentally friendly approaches to today’s agriculture efforts. 

Carmichael said the exhibitors included agriculture, associated businesses, and several organizations, such as Potatoes NB and Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick. 

She explained the expo set up in the CNHS gymnasium allowed students to wander comfortably through the exhibits with time to talk to exhibitors and ask questions. 

Carmichael said event organizers placed several exhibitors offering interactive displays and games on one side of the gym. She said they divided students into small groups, each given a set time at ab exhibit. 

Former CNHS student Leigh Hunter hosted the McCain Food booth, promoting the Florenceville-Bristol-based global giant’s Farms of the Future. The Technical Lead said one of his interactive displays showcased the future farm’s variable rate of seeding and fertilizing. 

Hunter said he was an example of changing times and new job opportunities in the ag sector. 

“When I graduated in 2011,” he said, “this wasn’t a type of job available.” 

Cindy McLaughlin of Jolly Farmer provided information about career opportunities at the massive greenhouse operation in Northampton, south of Woodstock. She also made sure students didn’t leave empty-handed. Students could take a liner and seedling of Marigolds or Coleus plants to grow at home. 

Kaitlen Nicholson helped guide students from the fields to the forest as she represented South Ridge Maple and Canadian Organic Maple. 

She said the Hargrove family-owned business taps 250,000 trees and supplies a worldwide market, with Germany and the UK as the maple producer’s most prominent global customers. She said their product is also sold locally in Sobeys stores. 

Like all farming, Nicholson said the maple business also witnessed significant technological advances in recent years. 

“You won’t see many buckets hanging on trees,” she said. 

Grade 9 teacher Peter Carswell said students enjoyed the expo, noting the event may have opened the eyes to potential careers for a few students. He said he also learned a lot about the agriculture industry. 

Carswell and Carmichael both noted the importance of exposing students to the many career paths that await them and how and where to develop the education and skills needed to pursue them. 

The Ag Expo was the second significant career event hosted at Carleton North this school year. On Dec. 1, the school presented the Skills Canada Try-A-Trade Expo, which exposed students to the high demand for skilled trade and tech workers. 

Carmichael said it’s essential that schools expand students’ horizons and prepare a skilled new generation to meet the job demands of the future.

By Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 03, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   River Valley Sun   Woodstock, New Brunswick
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