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Bright minds at Ridgetown Campus, University of Guelph

4 min read

The University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus:

  • Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario

  • Founded as the Western Ontario Agricultural School in 1951 and later became Ridgetown College then a campus of the University of Guelph in 1997

  • Ridgetown’s vision is to advance society through agri-food research and science-based learning; its mission is to be a leader in applied agriculture, animal science, and environmental research and in life-long learning initiatives that are practical and relevant to society

  • Enrollment: 450 to 550 full-time students

  • Campus size: 450 acres, including research plots

  • Teaching staff: Approximately 45 members, including faculty, college professors, lecturers and instructors

  • Ridgetown offers two- and three-year associate diploma programs in agriculture, environmental management, equine care and management, horticulture, and veterinary technology

  • Also offers a two-year dairy herdsperson apprenticeship program and one-year certificate programs in performance horse handling and veterinary office administration

Ahmed Atteya

Program: Associate Diploma in Agriculture

Why did you choose this career path?

Since I was a child, I’ve had a passion for and keen interest in agriculture. Working in an agricultural-related field is not just a job – it is a profession of hope and love and a noble message for all humans. Farmers make a positive impact on those around them and they are passionate about what they do. That guided my decision to change my career direction after spending several very successful years in a different business sector. At Ridgetown, I’ve learned the best agricultural practices and am learning how to join the agribusiness community to support farmers in accomplishing their mission.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

Like farmers, I am driven to be the best at what I do. Five years down the line, I want to be at a place where I can make a difference. My passion for agriculture will boost me in achieving my goals. I see myself developing my skills and growing my knowledge by learning from Canada's innovative leaders to become an agribusiness professional. My long-term goal is to be a leader in the industry and employ my skills and expertise to support and influence others and contribute to my community's improvement and the entire industry's growth.

What tips do you have for others?

Life taught me that dreams remain dreams until you take action. Always be patient and persistent in achieving your goals. Don’t worry about failing; life is not so much about what you accomplish as what you overcome. Take time to know yourself to be wise about your goals, dreams, and standards to live your life with purpose and meaning. Learn how to listen, because you cannot learn anything when you are talking. Don’t worry what other people think; believe in yourself. The way you see and treat yourself is what you become.

Suzanne VanderMeulen

Program: Associate Diploma in Agriculture

Specialization: Dairy Herdsperson Apprenticeship

Why did you choose this career path?

Agriculture has given me a dream, a purpose, goals for the future and an identity. I enjoy being surrounded by a diverse industry and getting to know more producers and contributors. I love being in the barn, working irregular hours and being around livestock. I chose Ridgetown for its combination of practical and academic experiences, and to connect with faculty with whom I share interests. Ridgetown offered me opportunities with their unique herdsperson apprenticeship program and I was able to do an artificial insemination course and trim hooves, along with many more hands-on experiences.

Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?

I’ll be milking cows, feeding calves, growing crops, and striving to be a contributing producer in the dairy industry. I’ll never be done learning and gaining new experiences. Over the years I have done co-ops, worked for many different farmers, attended conferences and farm shows, worked in agriculture overseas, obtained an agriculture diploma and now am taking the dairy herdsperson apprenticeship. I aim to continue learning and further build my skillsets and knowledge. I want to grow more into this industry, make connections and become a contributing producer.

What tips do you have for others?

Chase your dreams and find your passion! You have talents and skills, find them and use them! Don’t be afraid to dream big and work hard. When you discover where your talents lie, use that to build confidence in yourself, let it fuel you towards success. There are lots of producers and agriculture sector contributors willing to help you along your journey. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If this is an industry you want to be more involved in, reach out, talk to people, and build connections. This industry is like a big family – we want to see you succeed!

From an AgriSuccess article by Owen Roberts.

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