The Successors, Ep 4: Building new programs, finding commonalities, and the importance of having a good support group

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

The Successors is a RealAgriculture podcast series hosted by Kara Oosterhuis focusing on agriculture from the perspective of the up-and-coming generation.

How do you build a program from the ground up? What is it like to go from one side of agriculture, to a different one? Why do we need to remember to listen just as much as we speak?

David MacTaggart is currently working on a MSc in Plant Science at the University of Saskatchewan on the benefits of using drone-based tools for forage plant breeding, as well as developing new varieties for stockpile grazing, and helps us answer these questions in the latest episode of The Successors.

MacTaggart, who has been heavily involved in 4-H throughout his upbringing, is no stranger to leadership and the benefits that working together can provide. After his first year of university, he came back to his family farm near Camrose, Alta., and founded a 4-H gardening club — something that had not existed in 4-H Alberta up until that point. So how does one form a program that doesn’t exist? Of course, there are plenty of logistics, but MacTaggart explains that in his eyes, the crucial step is surrounding yourself with a support group.

“If you have an idea, and you want to build it, but there’s not necessarily the system there yet, that’s a lot of work. But it’s worth it. I found that having people around you to help you process — who can share different aspects of your dream, you don’t have to have the same vision — that’s important,” he explains. “What’s special about the agriculture industry is that there is a lot of families involved in it. So you start to see that in order to be successful, you need good people on your side as well.”

When diving into what makes our industry tick, and where we could maybe use some work, MacTaggart talks about communication — and how sometimes that involves doing more than just talking.

“Communication is just as much listening as it is talking,” MacTaggart says. He has talked to many farmers, and has heard their frustrations.

“Actually spending the time to listen to where those frustrations come from has helped me to realize that we have a lot more in common than we do different,” says MacTaggart.

Listen on for a conversation with David MacTaggart and host Kara Oosterhuis on branching into a new specialty, sharing experiences, where agriculture could be headed, and so much more:

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