Barriere’s Sara Smith is one of 25 young people from across Canada chosen to form the new Canadian Agricultural Youth Council.
“I feel honored to have been chosen,” Smith said. “My experiences, such as being a youth delegate at the United Nations Committee on World Food Security in 2018, opened my eyes to the importance of having the viewpoints of youth incorporated in policy. When I saw this opportunity, I decided to apply for it right away.”
Smith grew up on a small farm and got involved with Yellowhead 4-H when she was seven years old.
“I really loved it,” she said.
During her 13 years as a 4-H member she was provincial ambassador, a member of the 4-H Canada’s Youth Advisory Committee, and chair of YAC. She is presently going into her fourth year at UBC, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in political science.
“As someone who is just beginning their career, I think that I can bring insights into the experiences young people go through when trying to find their place in the industry,” she said. “Additionally, through 4-H I have had many experiences working in youth-adult partnerships and understand the barriers that exist and ways to address them.”
The young woman said that her first priority as a member of Canada’s Agricultural Youth Council would be to address the lack of information regarding the diversity of jobs within agriculture and the difficulties accessing resources required to get a strong start in the industry.
“I think that many young people like myself who grew up within the industry have a strong general awareness of supply chain and production jobs but may be less familiar with careers that exist beyond that,” she said. “Specifically, the development of career pathways that address education choices and requirements, previous experiences that are recommended, and rough timelines for career development.”
Smith’s other interests include skiing, traveling, and taking part in Model UN conferences through her university.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, announced the 25 successful candidates out of the more than 800 applicants on July 24. The committee members represent a diverse mix of sub-sectors from across the agriculture and agri-food sector, as well as from every province and the North.
“I’m looking forward to virtually meeting the members of the first-ever Canadian Agricultural Youth Council,” Bibeau said. “Each of these young leaders will bring a unique experience and perspective to the table. Together, the members will help shape the future of Canada’s sustainable agricultural industry.”
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. The council will hold its first meeting in August. Because of Covid concerns, it will be done via tele-conference.