The Kent Federation of Agriculture has recognized two of its own members and two post-secondary students with awards.
The federation’s scholarships this year went to Lydia Fenton and Tyler Robertson. They were open to students from the family of a Kent Federation of Agriculture member enrolled in an agricultural program.
Fenton is in her fourth year of the bachelor of commerce in food and agriculture business program at the University of Guelph. She has worked for two summers at Syngenta as an agronomic sales intern and has completed an internship with Farm Credit Canada.
Upon graduation in April, she plans to return to her family’s cash crop farm outside of Highgate.
“I am very excited to bring all of the skills, education, experience that I have gained away at school back to Chatham-Kent and I look forward to all the opportunities that are yet to come,” said Fenton.
Robertson is in his third year at the University of Guelph, studying crop science. He will be taking an exchange semester at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands to learn more about farming practices in Europe before returning to Guelph for his final year.
The Kent Bridge-area resident will also graduate with a certificate in organic agriculture and recently completed an internship with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture at the Royal Winter Fair.
“I plan on putting (the scholarship) towards my tuition at the University of Guelph,” said Robertson. “I really enjoy learning about agriculture and am looking forward to a career in farming.”
Federation president Ron Faubert said providing these $1,000 scholarships is “one of the best things” the federation does because the students “are going to be our future in agriculture.”
Jay Cunningham, a sixth-generation farmer near Kent Bridge and retired agricultural banker, received the Ed Campbell Memorial Award for feeration director of the year.
“When I look back at the 24 people who have received this before me, I’m quite humbled by the people who I follow because they’ve done a lot of good work,” said Cunningham, who was also acclaimed as the new federation’s president.
“I don’t know if I can even be in that league, but I will continue to try.”
The Meritorious Service Award went to Louis Roesch, who has been an Ontario Federation of Agriculture member for over 30 years and is a past Kent Federation of Agriculture president.
With his wife Clara, they have a 150-acre cash crop farm, a farrow-to-finish hog operation, 500 laying hens, an egg-grading station and an on-farm retail outlet for their own processed pork, free-run chickens and eggs.
Roesch is currently the OFA director for District 1, which includes Essex and Kent counties. He led the work on the resolution brought forward by the Kent federation to challenge labelling clarification on Ontario and Canadian products.
On their farm in the former township of Harwich, the Roesches have the first phosphorous measuring and reduction project in the area, which was set up in co-ordination with the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority.
Roesch said 30 per cent of the credit should go to him, while the other 70 per cent should go to his wife.