University of Guelph graduate student Gordon Bell has been named a member of Canada’s first Agricultural Youth Council to advise the federal government on agri-food issues that matter to young people.
Bell was among 25 youths chosen for the council from more than 800 applicants.
A graduate student in the Ontario Agricultural College, he studies soil health, including crop rotation, soil texture, climate change and water budgets in field crop production.
"Today, the honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the names of the youth who will form the new Canadian Agricultural Youth Council. The 25 young people were chosen from more than 800 applications received, representing a diverse mix of subsectors from across the agriculture and agri-food sector, as well as from every province and the North," said Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in a news release.
"Young Canadians are dynamic, engaged and passionate about the future of the agriculture and agri-food sector, and giving them a voice at the table is an important commitment of the Government of Canada."
As a consultative body to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Agricultural Youth Council will have the opportunity to offer suggestions on government priorities, as well as identify problems and propose solutions on issues that matter most to them, all while developing leadership skills and building professional relationships.
Each member of the new youth council was chosen to represent a subsector of the agriculture and agri-food sector, as well as each province and the North.
The Canadian Agricultural Youth Council will advise Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), including making suggestions on federal government priorities, as well as identifying problems and proposing solutions on key issues.
Bell is a scholar in the Climate Smart Soils program, which seeks to train students to address the challenges climate change will bring to agriculture.
He hopes to find ways to ensure that farmers receive support and incentives to adopt affordable and sustainable practices. He also wants to ensure that the agriculture industry is accessible to people of all backgrounds.
AAFC says youth council members will provide insights on topics including how the sector is adapting to COVID-19, business risk management programs, sustainable agriculture, market diversification, skills and labour, intergenerational farm transfers and mental health.
The council will meet multiple times annually, with the inaugural meeting to held virtually in August.
- with files from the University of Guelph