Ontario’s Northern College will offer a two-year Agriculture Business program beginning in the fall of 2022, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Ottawa-based Algonquin College.
The program was developed in 2018 and launched at Algonquin College’s Perth campus in 2019, to address the needs of a growing industry.
The two-year Agricultural Business program is designed specifically to address the growing need for skilled labour and business acumen in agriculture. It combines in-class lectures on farm management fundamentals and co-op placements designed to connect students with the realities of farming.
“This is a perfect fit for northeastern Ontario,” says Dr. Audrey J. Penner, with Northern College. “We know that the Clay Belt that runs from northwestern Quebec through the Temiskaming region north towards Kapuskasing is a massive burgeoning agricultural market. This program will provide a chance for northern farmers and their families to reinforce business techniques close to home and an opportunity for those who wish to enter the agriculture sector to attain the skills to help in developing this sector in the north.”
Martin Savard, co-ordinator of the Business Agriculture program with Algonquin College, says that the agriculture industry played a key role in not just developing the diploma program, but also in pushing for it to be offered. “The farming industry came to us because there was a need to fill an educational void, and we’ve built this program with their input at every step,” he says.
“Farming is a massive sector that forms an enormous part of our economy. We are teaching the skills that the industry wants and needs, based on its current demands and requirements,” Savard says.