For immediate release
Bursaries awarded to undergraduate, postgraduate and apprenticeship students
GUELPH ON [November 21, 2023] – Five young people currently pursuing future careers in agriculture have each won a bursary of $2,000 from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). The undergraduate, postgraduate and apprenticeship awards were presented at the OFA’s Annual General Meeting in Toronto earlier today.
The OFA has long awarded post-secondary bursaries to three undergraduate students, but last year marked the first year the program was expanded to include an apprenticeship and a postgraduate, veterinary or leadership development program winner as well.
“This year’s winners are defined by their passion for agriculture, their commitment to their communities and their drive to build strong futures for themselves, their families and our industry as a whole,” says Peggy Brekveld, OFA President. “We are honoured to recognize their accomplishments with these bursaries and support them as they work to achieve their goals.”
The bursary program is open to applicants who live in Ontario and are OFA members or the child or employee of an OFA member. Applications are judged based on demonstrated leadership skills, involvement in the community, and varied accomplishments in both school and the agriculture industry.
Postgraduate bursary winner: Lauren Miller, St. George (Brant County)
Lauren Miller of St. George is in the first year of a master’s program in Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph. She also holds a full-time position as Digital Media Communications Coordinator with Farm & Food Care Ontario, runs a professional photography business and is actively involved with agricultural education activities in Brant County. Lauren is passionate about making a difference in land use planning, specifically around farmland preservation, and wants to make a positive impact on the quality of life in rural communities.
Apprenticeship bursary winner: Evan Atkinson, Stayner (Simcoe County)
Evan Atkinson is enrolled at Cambrian College in Sudbury and after entering the Youth Apprenticeship program as part of a co-op placement in Grade 11, is now apprenticing as a welder with Eskra Welding through the Ontario Apprenticeship Program. Using plasma cutting equipment he purchased himself in the last several years, he has developed a growing business designing and making a range of agricultural parts for local farmers. Evan grew up on a family sheep, broiler and cash crop operation in Simcoe County, and in the future, hopes to have an on-farm shop providing custom plasma-cutting, equipment repair and welding services to agricultural customers.
Undergraduate bursary winner, North/East region: Cassidy Porteous, Winchester (Dundas County)
Cassidy Porteous is in her final year of the Animal Science and Technology program at Lakeland College in Alberta with a major in dairy science and hopes to continue her studies to also complete a certificate in agribusiness. She has completed 36 4-H projects in Dundas, Carleton and Grenville counties, and hopes to pursue work in the dairy genetics field after graduation. Cassidy’s long-term goal is to take over her family’s century dairy and cash crop farm and grow the business by maximizing both efficiency and profitability with a focus on dairy genetic improvement and cow comfort.
Undergraduate bursary winner, Central region: Cheyanne Leifso, Elmwood (Bruce County)
Cheyanne Leifso is a first year student at the University of Guelph in the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture program. She’s actively involved in her community, volunteering with the Elmwood Firefighters’ Association, her local church and serving as the Chesley Agricultural Society Fall Fair Ambassador. A long-time 4-H member, she’s particularly enjoyed dairy and veterinary clubs as both a participant and a leader. Cheyanne is the sixth generation on her family’s dairy farm and is looking forward to returning to the family business after graduation.
Undergraduate bursary winner, Southwest region: Emma Ouelette, Sombra (Lambton County)
Emma Ouelette of Sombra is in her second year of a four-year program in Management and Organizational Studies at Western University in London. A passionate community volunteer, she is currently a board director for the Moore Agricultural Society, co-chair and co-founder of the Brigden Youth Gardening Club, and has a long involvement with the Brigden Fair. Emma’s future goals include taking over the family farm, becoming part of her local municipal council and ultimately serving as mayor of St. Clair Township.
An extensive list of available scholarships and bursaries for all post-secondary students interested in pursuing a career in the agriculture industry is available on the OFA website.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province and serving as the leading advocate and strongest voice of Ontario’s farmers. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA represents and champions the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218