GRAS donations benefit agricultural leadership

The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) recently presented two cheques in support of programs dedicated to nurturing leaders in the advancement of local agriculture. The donations – totaling $17,500 – were made by the GRAS, owner and operator of Grand River Raceway, on Dec. 15 at the Elora track.

Funding support in the amount of $5,000 was presented to the Ontario Institute of Agrologists (OIA), based in Guelph.

“We’re all trying to find a way to get students to move beyond the classroom and see what’s happening in the world of practice,” explained Terry Kingsmill, OIA registrar.

“This money will help subsidize 50 students attending our 2016 conference on March 31. It’s an enormous opportunity for students to hear from several speakers. They’ll get a valuable range of information and a good heads-up on what’s happening out there in the world of practice,” said Kingsmill.

Conference speakers include well-known author and professor Dr. Colin Sage from University College Cork, Ireland.

GRAS also presented a cheque for $12,500 to the Rural Ontario Institute (ROI). The Guelph-based organization runs the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program (AALP), which was established in 1984.

Up to 30 individuals are selected for each 19-month AALP class. Eligible participants demonstrate leadership qualities, an interest in community activities and show potential for further leadership development. They are individuals who want to help shape the future of agriculture and food in Ontario and make a positive difference in rural communities.

The program curriculum includes eight multi-day seminars across Ontario, two study tours (one North American and one international) and a group study project working as consultants for an agricultural organization. AALP Class 16 runs September 2015 to April 2017 and includes 26 participants from across Ontario.

The Grand River Agricultural Society is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated under the Agricultural Societies Act of Ontario and operated by a volunteer board of directors.