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Bright minds from the University of Manitoba’s faculty of agriculture and food sciences

  • 4 min read

Brian Archibald

Program: Bachelor of science in agribusiness

Hometown: Killarney, Man.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

I plan to continue grain farming alongside my family while increasing my level of responsibility to take over a larger share of the management. It’s our goal to continue to expand our operation, increase profitability and remain viable into the future for generations to follow. I’m always open to trying new ideas that will help increase margins as well as efficiencies. I hope that in the next five to 10 years we continue to build on our existing foundation, but also find other ways to streamline our operation that allow it to grow and thrive in the years to come.

Why did you choose this path?

I grew up on the farm, and like most farm kids I became involved from an early age. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to farm alongside my family. It’s something I cherish daily. As farmers, we’re very fortunate to work in an industry that’s constantly advancing and changing, and I really enjoy the diversity from day to day. The opportunity to do what I love, and to be constantly learning from my parents as well as the industry, is something I really appreciate.  There is no other job or career that allows you to have such a variety of experiences. Seeing the constant industry advancements really excites me for the future of our farm. 

What tips do you have for others?

Get involved in as much as you can, and as early as possible. Through my experiences working in the industry and studying at the University of Manitoba, I have been fortunate to make contacts with people from all over Canada in various areas of expertise. These individuals have proved to be invaluable friends as well as resources. The agriculture industry is so diverse that by building these relationships you can always find a friend to ask. There is so much to learn from others.  

Jill Martens

Program: Agribusiness diploma

Hometown: Boissevain, Man.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

I plan to be farming! I work with my family on our mixed farm. We have a grain operation, market edible bean seed, and have a purebred Charolais cow-calf herd. Working with my family is amazing. We work hard and have a lot of fun. Taking the agriculture diploma program at the U of M has equipped me with management skills that I’m excited to implement at home. Some practical examples include creating feed rations, fertilizer recommendations and crop budgets.

Why did you choose this path?

I am passionate about producing quality food. Considering high land prices and start-up costs, I’m grateful for the opportunity to farm. My parents have been generous enough to employ, teach and mentor me, for which I am very grateful. I love the current dialogue between consumers and producers. To me, it’s important to be able to explain our farming practices to urban friends and family. Public perception of the industry is a hot issue.

What tips do you have for others?

As a woman working in a male-dominated industry I have learned a few unique lessons. First, confidence goes a long way. Certain situations might be intimidating, but confidence is empowering. Second, relying on others for help does not demonstrate weakness. Having a good network of supportive friends makes all the difference – having someone to lean on for help dealing with farm stress. Connecting with peers who understand the challenges of farming has been another great experience from studying agriculture at the U of M.

The University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences:

  • Is in Winnipeg, Man., at the Fort Garry Campus
  • Began in 1906 as the Manitoba Agricultural College and joined the University of Manitoba in 1924
  • Has research stations around Manitoba with 2,200 acres in cropping and livestock production, including a modern dairy facility, the longest running study of organic crop systems in Canada and a public outreach centre with windows into a working swine barn
  • Is home to the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals, a bioprocessing and product development facility focused on health-promoting compounds found in Prairie crops
  • Is research intensive, with internationally recognized expertise and over $13.7 million in external funding annually for basic and applied research programs
  • Has over 1,100 students in diploma, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs, ranging from crop and livestock management to plant biotechnology and human nutritional sciences
  • Offers over $875,000 in student scholarships and bursaries to undergraduate and graduate students

From an AgriSuccess article by Owen Roberts.


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