Having been involved with farming from a very young age, Kim McCaw has always dreamed about learning how farming works in other countries.
Now she has the chance to see Ireland and explore their environment, farming practices and economics.
Thanks to the Junior Farmers Association of Ontario (JFAO) international exchange program, McCaw will be travelling to Ireland this August.
That will allow her to stay with numerous farm families while learning more about agricultural practices there. She is hoping to also share her knowledge and experience of Canadian agriculture with her hosts. When she returns, she will be a speaker for her JFAO colleagues and other industry organizations on the similarities and differences in agricultural practices.
The Junior Farmers Association of Ontario (JFAO) is a non-profit organization and the only self directed youth program offered in Ontario. The club’s mission statement is “to build future rural leaders through self-help and community betterment.”
Formed in 1944, the JFAO is filled with energetic, enthusiastic and rural leaders between the ages of 15 and 29. The members are looking for new challenges, fun and an opportunity to be actively involved in the local community. The travel exchange program was initiated in 1945. Members have the opportunity to apply for numerous exchanges, in countries ranging from Australia to Europe, as well as within Canada.
In 2004, McCaw was lucky enough to win the exchange to Alberta for two weeks as a delegate. “It was an amazing time and I even had the chance to drive a chuck wagon team for practice at the Calgary Stampede,” she recalled.
In 2008, she went on an exchange to Germany.
“I was intrigued by the fact that the houses and barns were connected to each other and that different agricultural species were within walking distance of each other, and asked about the biosecurity between farms. During the day we toured the city of Oldenburg and learned about its history. There was a great young woman who did all the translating for me, and a tear came to my eye when I saw the young farmers hang the Canadian flag.”
McCaw is currently an inspector with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and still does some work in a relief milking business.