MHC adds agroe­col­ogy to pro­gram mix

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - FARM NEWS - Contribute­d

An ex­cit­ing new pro­gram has been added to Medicine Hat Col­lege’s aca­demic of­fer­ing, giv­ing stu­dents in­ter­ested in sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture an op­por­tu­nity to be­come a reg­is­tered tech­nol­o­gist in Agrol­ogy (RTAg).

The Agroe­col­ogy Tech­ni­cian di­ploma pro­gram pro­vides stu­dents with the com­pe­ten­cies re­quired for pro­duc­ing food, for­age, fiber, and fuel us­ing sus­tain­able meth­ods, as well as a range of knowl­edge in the three E’s: en­vi­ron­ment, eco­nomics, and en­ergy us­ing sys­tems the­ory.

Learn­ers will also gain real-world ex­pe­ri­ence in de­sign­ing, mon­i­tor­ing and as­sess­ing sus­tain­able agroe­co­log­i­cal sys­tems, meeting the knowl­edge, tech­ni­cal skills, and per­for­mance com­pe­ten­cies re­quired for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion with the Al­berta In­sti­tute of Agrol­o­gists.

“Medicine Hat Col­lege is ex­cited to bring this op­por­tu­nity to learn­ers in south­ern Al­berta and Saskatchew­an as the pro­gram is well-aligned and serves the needs of our re­gion and com­mu­ni­ties in terms of of­fer­ing new streams of em­ploy­ment and al­ter­na­tive ways of do­ing agri­cul­ture,” ex­plains the pro­gram’s co­or­di­na­tor, Brent Smith.

“Agri­cul­ture is one of south­ern Al­berta’s lead­ing in­dus­tries, and there is al­ways go­ing to be re­sources and de­mand for agri­cul­ture be­cause ev­ery­one needs to eat. This pro­gram lever­ages an im­por­tant part of our re­gion’s eco­nomic sec­tor and pre­pares stu­dents to find mean­ing­ful, long-term em­ploy­ment and a fu­ture in­come stream that’s not go­ing to be sub­ject to mar­ket forces.”

Em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties that stem from the com­ple­tion of the Agroe­col­ogy Tech­ni­cian di­ploma in­clude agri­cul­tural re­search tech­ni­cian, ur­ban agri­cul­ture de­signer or land­scaper, range man­age­ment con­sul­tant or pro­fes­sional, and an en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tant.

Grad­u­ates will also be equipped with the en­tre­pre­neur­ial knowl­edge needed to start a busi­ness in sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture or green­house hor­ti­cul­ture, or sup­port the take over of a fam­ily agri­cul­ture busi­ness as a crop or live­stock pro­ducer.

“An ex­cit­ing as­pect to this pro­gram is the in­no­va­tive and cre­ative op­por­tu­ni­ties in di­ver­si­fy­ing cur­rent prac­tices and prod­ucts that will emerge. There are all kinds of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts that our re­gion is well-suited to pro­duce that we are cur­rently not tak­ing ad­van­tage of, and this pro­gram can be in­flu­en­tial in cre­at­ing new in­dus­try and bring­ing sub­se­quent jobs in our re­gion,” adds Smith.

Upon com­ple­tion of the di­ploma, stu­dents will also have the op­por­tu­nity to trans­fer to uni­ver­si­ties of­fer­ing sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture pro­grams.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for this pro­gram open Nov. 1, 2020 for Fall 2021. For more on MHC’s Agroe­col­ogy Tech­ni­cian pro­gram or to ap­ply, visit www.mhc.ab.ca/Pro­gram­sandCourse­s/Aca­demicPro­grams/Pro­grams-of-Study/Agroe­col­o­gyTech­ni­cian.

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