Man. teen representing Canada at Youth Ag Summit

Man. teen representing Canada at Youth Ag Summit
Sep 16, 2021

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Emily Robb is one of two Canadians attending the event

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

An 18-year-old University of Manitoba student will represent Canada during an international event in November.

Emily Robb is one of two Canadians selected to participate in Bayer’s Youth Ag Summit (YAS).

“I love this industry so dearly and I want to contribute to its future,” she told Farms.com. “For others to see that in me and choose me to represent my country at this event is something I never would’ve imagined.”

Amanda Hardman from Stony Plain, Alta. is the other Canadian representative.

The YAS brings together 100 delegates between the ages of 18 and 25 from 44 countries.

As part of the YAS application process, interested youth had to present project ideas and examples of advocacy work on the event’s overall theme “Feeding a Hungry Planet.”

Robb’s current project is based on developing specific hydroponic fertilizers for crop growth.

Emily Robb workingIt’s an extension of a science project which earned her multiple science fair awards.

“I wanted to see how I could maximize the biomass output of certain crops,” she said. “I was doing this hydroponically and creating my own hydroponic fertilizer. Not like stuff on the market that’s geared towards cannabis, I wanted to see if I could change it and make it better for crops that we consume.”

One of her experiments resulted in a biomass increase in arugula by about 10 per cent.

The event provides an opportunity for young leaders to learn and collaborate with others on solutions to issues challenging food security.

The concept of working with other young people passionate about agriculture is what initially drew Robb to apply because she didn’t have many opportunities like that in school.

“I was the only student in a (high school) graduating class of 269 students to be going into an agricultural career path,” said Robb, who is working towards her Bachelor of Science in Agroecology degree. “As a youth in the community I’ve always been kind of a lone wolf pursuing agriculture. So, I wanted to apply to work with people who are interested in the same things I am and hear their passion.”

In addition, Robb wants to understand what agriculture looks like in other parts of the world.

“I know what agriculture looks like based on how I was brought up and resources I’ve seen, but if other people tell me what their views are and how they experience agriculture, maybe I can learn something and better my community.”

Robb is pleased to see youth in agriculture receive this important platform.

Agriculture will never stop evolving, and the young people of today are going to lead its growth, she said.

“Agriculture is the future and I believe it’s the basis of modern society,” she said. “It’s awesome to see an event focused on youth because as farmers reach retirement age, it’s us teenagers and young adults who are going to be coming up with ideas and changing the industry.”

The two-day event will take place on Nov. 16 and 17.

Afterwards, delegates participate in a 10-week online mentoring program to help further their research projects.

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