CHESTERVILLE – More than 60 high school students gathered Fri., May 3 at the Royal Canadian Legion Chesterville Branch 434 to take in a special presentation hosted by the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association (OVSGA).

The lead facilitator was Kelly Daynard, executive director of Farm and Food Care Ontario, who presented the “Speak Up for Agriculture” event for agriculture specialist high skills major students in the Upper Canada District School Board.

Jackie Pemberton, OFA zone 11 representative, explained her connection and relationship with agriculture to students from Tagwi, Char-Lan and Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute at the Royal Canadian Legion Chesterville Branch 434 at a “Speak Up for Agriculture” organized by the OVSGA Fri., May 3. Schoch Photo

Arlene Ross, administrator with OVSGA, put the event together and the organization largely subsidized resulting in only a $10 cost to students with lunch included.

The unique learning opportunity is the first of its kind for OVSGA and Ross described the program one that gives the ag community “the skills to speak up about what they do on the farm.”

Tagwi, Char-Lan and Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute were present, but 35 students from North Dundas District High School were unable to attend due to the unexpected school closure last week.

Ross noted that supporting the program is core to the OVSGA mandate for public outreach.

“If the interest is there, these are our farmers of the future, the community of the future so let’s support it,” she said. “It’s outreach towards agriculture of the future and these kids are our future.”

The event for high school students was put together by Ross after the OVSGA held a similar event for Eastern Ontario farmers in February.