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Bright minds at Dalhousie University’s faculty of agriculture

Brooke McNeil

Program: Bachelor of agricultural science

Hometown: Hantsport, N.S.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

I plan to have completed my masters in an area of animal science, focusing on cattle. I see myself living in rural Canada, in a career in animal agriculture, preferably with cattle. I’m interested in dealing with health, nutrition, or management practices through extension work or a company. I plan to start a family and have a farm, primarily with cattle (dairy or beef), and other animals such as sheep or goats, horses, chickens – and of course, some dogs! I also see myself continuing to be involved in organizations such as 4-H and Young Farmers.

Why did you choose this path?

I have always been a huge animal lover, and through 4-H I was introduced to agriculture. My experience in 4-H contributed greatly to my decision to attend Dalhousie, where I found my passion. I’ve learned so much and had so many great opportunities including working at the campus farm and doing an honours project. Feeding the world’s growing population is a huge topic right now. Animal agriculture provides quality, nutritious products, and can contribute greatly.

What tips do you have for others?

“I love learning about, and working with, animals so much – often it doesn’t even feel like work.”

Working hard really pays off. Dedication and perseverance while working on the farm, doing schoolwork or any other endeavour has been instrumental in helping me to achieve my goals. But, no matter how busy life gets, always make sure to take breaks and look after your health. I’ve found that neglecting any of these leads to feeling run down or overwhelmed, which causes stress and decreased productivity. Also, it is so important to do what makes you happy. I love learning about, and working with, animals so much – often it doesn’t even feel like work.

Katie McCallum

Program: Master of science in agriculture

Hometown: Tabusintac, N.B.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

Agriculture is an exciting industry that’s full of opportunities. I see myself working in it, hopefully in extension work with field crops. Because I grew up on a farm, I really relate to farmers, and my education will give me the skills I need to help them. I’m interested in how farmers can access and utilize research and how to make it more applicable to them so they can be productive and sustainable. Transferring the knowledge learned through research back to farmers is a large part of my master’s work.

Why did you choose this path?

“One of my favourite parts about agriculture is its versatility … I can pivot and go in many directions.”

My interest in plant science combined with the reassurance of a growing industry is largely why I chose this path. I chose to study at Dalhousie because of family connections, my interest in the plant science program and the appeal of a close-knit campus. My three siblings attended this university and we’ve all taken different paths in agriculture. One of my favourite parts about agriculture is its versatility. I like how I can pivot and go in many directions.

What tips do you have for others? 

I recommend taking every chance possible to connect with others on campus and in the industry. There are numerous opportunities for collaboration that will allow you to gain experience and set you up for a successful career in the agriculture industry. I was most interested in plant science but taking a variety of courses outside this area allowed me to gain a better understanding of the connectedness of agriculture.

Dalhousie’s faculty of agriculture:

  • Is located in Bible Hill, N.S. (just outside Truro)
  • Has a working farm with 1,000 acres of research fields, gardens and greenhouses
  • Began in 1905 as the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, joining with Dalhousie University in 2012
  • Is now the third-oldest academic centre for agriculture-related science and research in the country
  • Is ranked among the top 150 universities by QS World Rankings (2018) in the area of agriculture and forestry
  • Has programs that combine the core disciplines of agricultural sciences with business management and innovative technology, preparing students for the numerous paths agriculture has to offer 
  • Has a faculty with 1,000 students enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s and diploma programs, in the departments of plant, food and environmental sciences; business and social sciences; animal science and aquaculture; and engineering

From an AgriSuccess article by Owen Roberts.