Thursday, May 18, 2017

Youth Ag-Summit participants selected: Four Canadians among 100 young leaders chosen from around the world to help address global food security challenges

• Youth Ag-Summit takes place from 9-13 October, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium
• Goal is to generate concrete solutions for agriculture worldwide
• Final delegates selected from almost 1,200 applicants
Liam Condon and delegates from the Youth Ag-Summit 2015

Calgary, AB. May 18, 2017 – Bayer, together with partners Groene Kring (GK) and Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs (FJA), is pleased to announce that 100 bright young minds have been selected to participate in the third global Youth Ag-Summit, which will take place in Brussels, Belgium from October 9-13, 2017. This year’s Summit is themed “Feeding a Hungry Planet”, and aims to address the UN Sustainability Goals of ending hunger, achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture.


Four of the 100 chosen delegates will represent Canada at the Youth Ag-Summit. They are: 

2017 Youth Ag-Summit Canadian Representatives 

Cassandra Hayward, age 19, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, is currently a student, double majoring in Sustainable Development and Political Science. She has been a member of 4-H Canada for five years and is a current Junior Leader with the organization. She has spent much of her time volunteering for a number of organizations, both locally and internationally. A volunteer mission through 4-H Canada took her to Ghana, where she was greatly influenced by the Ghanian people, who reaffirmed the need for sustainable agriculture and global food security. Cassandra is also helping conservation efforts for the endangered Blanding turtle species in Kejimkujik National park and Historic Site. Her interest in sustainability is largely focused on the policy and legislation that will need to be implemented and supported by governments to ensure food security and agricultural sustainability.

Brandon Hebor, age 24, from Toronto, Ontario, is a self-proclaimed “Farmer of the Future.” He is the co-owner of an urban farming enterprise focused on sustainable food production using aquaponics. His work experience with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Ontario Ministry of the Environment have provided an excellent foundation for Brandon as a young entrepreneur. In his spare time, he is a community member of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council and Boy Scouts of Canada. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Geography from McMaster University, and a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business Management from Seneca College.

Cameron Olson, age 24, from Rocky View, Alberta, has a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science, and is a currently taking his Master’s degree in Animal Science at Texas A&M University. He’s a former long-time member of 4-H Alberta, and former member and officer of the Albertan and Canadian Junior Limousin Association – a not-for-profit organization for breeders, supporters and enthusiasts of Limousin cattle. Two recent experiences in rural Latin America enlightened Cameron on how essential food security is for people. He’s passionate about providing sustainable, nutrient-dense, animal-sourced foods as part of the effort to supply food to the world’s increasing population.

Alexis Wagner, age 24, from St. John, Newfoundland, has a degree in Biological and Food Engineering from the University of Guelph, and is currently completing a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy from the University of Cambridge in England. She has been actively involved in a variety of food and farming organizations, including, Food Education Action, St. John’s Food Policy Council, the St. John's Fruit Tree Project and various community gardens. She is also the Head Brewer of Mill Street Brewery in St. John’s. She is passionate about the sustainability of our supply chain and aspires to continue working with the public sector to impact greater change in agrifood systems.

Hailing from 49 countries and aged between 18 and 25, the chosen delegates share a passion for agriculture and a vision of a world without hunger. During the summit, they will share their diverse experiences and work together to generate innovative, sustainable and actionable solutions to global food security challenges. Across five days, delegates will undertake group projects and participate in industry tours, as well as learning from expert guest speakers. Their mission is to come up with concrete new ideas which can drive agricultural progress across the globe and be put into practice back home.

“The agricultural industry can contribute strongly to achieving some of the key UN Sustainable Development Goals, but this also requires the active involvement of the next generation. The Youth Ag-Summit aims to give young leaders the opportunity to foster their ideas, share best practices and explore the role of modern agriculture in feeding a hungry planet,” said Liam Condon, member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and head of the Crop Science Division.

Participants selected through an essay contest

To be considered for participation, prospective delegates were required to submit an essay of 1,500 words on the topic of food insecurity. A total of nearly 1,200 essays from 95 different countries were submitted; all of which were reviewed by a panel of industry experts.

“The applicants put a lot of effort into their essays. We reviewed them based on their views on sustainable food security and agriculture. Reading them was a valuable experience. Their contributions will form the basis for discussion at the Youth Ag-Summit in October,” said Giel Boey, national chairman of Groene Kring.

Young people can help tackle global food security challenges

This year’s winning applicants focused their essay submissions on the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the role of youth in helping to feed a growing world population. Ideas put forward related to improving education and awareness of best practices, increasing gender equality within the sector, changing consumption patterns, and mitigating the impact of climate change on crop yield, to name a few.

 “As a Belgian youth agricultural organization, we look forward to welcoming and introducing young leaders to local farming challenges and hearing their global and local perspectives. It will be a true pleasure to share ideas and thoughts with so many passionate minds,” said Guillaume Van Binst, secretary general of the Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs.

The delegates hail from the following 49 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Visit www.youthagsummit.com to meet the delegates and to learn more about the Summit. Follow the latest news on @YouthAgSummit or https://www.facebook.com/YouthAgSummit/.

About the Youth Ag-Summit

The Youth Ag-Summit is a global bi-annual conference designed to inspire and connect the next generation of young leaders in agriculture and related disciplines. In 2017, 100 young leaders aged 18 to 25 will meet in Brussels, Belgium, to create an open dialogue on one of the world’s most challenging questions: how to feed a hungry planet? Following previous editions hosted in Canada and Australia, this year’s Summit is the first to be held in a European city. The Youth Ag-Summit is part of Bayer’s Agricultural Education Program which aims to raise global awareness about farming and food supplies. Find out more about the Program at www.ag-education.bayer.com, https://www.facebook.com/BayerAgEdu/, or on Twitter @BayerAgEdu.

About Groene Kring

Groene Kring (GK) is an association for young farmers in Flanders, Belgium, which counts around 3,500 members. GK brings young farmers together via regular activities and events, organizes entrepreneurship education, and protects the interests of young farmers on a regional, national and international level. For more information, visit: www.groenekring.be

About the Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs

La Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs (FJA) represents young farmers living and working in Wallonia, Belgium. FJA represents the views of 2,800 members, advocating on their behalf at a regional, national and European level. As an official education provider within the agriculatural sector, they also organize training courses. For more information, visit www.fja.be

Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.cropscience.bayer.ca.


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