Cor Van Raay Agribusi­ness Com­pe­ti­tion a chance for young ag-busi­ness stu­dents to shine

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Lethbridge - BY HEATHER CAMERON

It has quickly be­come a sta­ple in the so­cial, ed­u­ca­tion and agri­cul­tural fab­ric in south­west Al­berta.

The 4th an­nual Cor Van Raay Agribusi­ness Com­pe­ti­tion took place in Leth­bridge on Oct. 26-27.

“I want to con­grat­u­late the stu­dents,” John Kolk, Mas­ter of Cer­e­monies, said. “Some of them have come from quite a dis­tance and I con­grat­u­late them for hav­ing that ex­tra courage.”

11 teams par­tic­i­pated in the com­pe­ti­tion with one team com­ing from Lake­land Col­lege, one team com­ing from the Univer­sity of Saskatchewan, one team from Olds, and the rest of the teams con­sist­ing of stu­dents from Leth­bridge Col­lege and the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge.

The Fri­day evening was filled with nu­mer­ous net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, a key­note speaker, and a stu­dent meet­ing.

“I have heard great feed­back from the stu­dents that they were able to net­work, gain new knowl­edge and make new friends,” says Am­ber Chris­tian­son, the Cor Van Raay Case Com­pe­ti­tion Co­or­di­na­tor.

The ac­tual com­pe­ti­tion kicked off early Satur­day morn­ing and lasted un­til early evening, with all teams in­volved work­ing tire­lessly to achieve a vic­tory. This year's case was a dairy case that in­volved talk­ing about man­age­ment struc­ture and growth.

“I talked to a few of the stu­dents and I asked them what their high­light of the com­pe­ti­tion was,” Kolk says. “Al­most in­vari­ably, it was work­ing to­gether to try and get to some­thing and tak­ing about some­thing that we don't know any­thing about . It's the kind of thing that's go­ing to serve you well in your ca­reers.”

Satur­day evening con­sisted of a mixer, gala din­ner pro­vided by the Culi­nary stu­dents and staff from Leth­bridge Col­lege, and pre­sen­ta­tion of awards to those who won the com­pe­ti­tion.

Fol­low­ing the mixer and din­ner, sev­eral peo­ple got up to ex­press their thoughts and ad­mi­ra­tion about the pro­gram and Cor Van Raay's gen­eros­ity to­wards lo­cal ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams.

“By hav­ing an Ag key­note speaker and Ag based case, this opens the doors for stu­dents to learn more about Ag based op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Chris­tian­son said.

David Hill, di­rec­tor of de­vel­op­ment with the South­ern Al­berta Agri­cul­ture and Agribusi­ness pro­gram, was the first to speak and he spoke about how agri­cul­ture and the con­cept of food has grown over the years enough that ed­u­ca­tion is shift­ing to en­sure that stu­dents learn and get to prac­tice ap­ply­ing in­no­va­tive con­cepts re­lat­ing to agri­cul­ture while still in school.

“I find that it's still some­what the idea that if you say the word agri­cul­ture peo­ple im­me­di­ately think of farm­ing and farm­ing is great; it's es­sen­tial but agri­cul­ture has be­come much big­ger,” Hill ex­plains. “We're now at the col­lege; we have a diploma in agri­cul­tural En­ter­prise Man­age­ment in the School of Busi­ness and at the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge; we'll have a ma­jor in agri­cul­tural En­ter­prise Man­age­ment in the dif­fer­ent School of Busi­ness, so I think this is a really ex­cit­ing time for all of us.”

Kenny Cor­si­can from Leth­bridge Col­lege spoke next and em­pha­sized that trav­el­ing so far to be here for this com­pe­ti­tion cre­ates a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity for all par­tic­i­pants to gain its real prob­lems that are that are fac­ing the in­dus­try.

Dr. A.K.M. Sham­sul Alam, Pro­fes­sor of Fi­nance and the As­so­ciate Dean and Di­rec­tor of Man­age­ment Pro­grams at the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge, then spoke about how the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge is an ac­tive col­lab­o­ra­tor along with the col­lege in and in this part­ner­ship they are fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing dy­namic stu­dents who are the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit.

“It is an ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing process; the stu­dents learn real prob­lems and ap­ply their knowl­edge to solve them when they are still in school,” Alam says.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Sco­tia­bank and Nor­folk Coun­try Law, who were spon­sors of the com­pe­ti­tion, also spoke about how their com­pa­nies were hon­ored to be in­volved in help­ing fur­ther the busi­ness that agri­cul­ture is.

“Cor Van Raay's been a vi­sion­ary when it comes to agribusi­ness and op­por­tu­nity rep­re­sented by south­ern Al­berta,” saysTyler Mur­ray, a lawyer with Nor­folk County Law who prac­tises in south­ern Al­berta. “It's a vi­sion of op­por­tu­nity that's shared by our firm as young peo­ple about to em­bark on their ca­reers. You should all just know that there's no busi­ness with a brighter fu­ture than agribusi­ness and there's no bet­ter place to be than right here in South­ern Al­berta.”

Fol­low­ing the speeches, awards were given out to the top three teams in the com­pe­ti­tion. The win­ning team of this year's com­pe­ti­tion was Team Lake­land Col­lege. Sec­ond place went to Team Univer­sity of Saskatchewan, while third place was awarded to Team Leth­bridge Col­lege/Univer­sity of Leth­bridge.

“Th­ese case com­pe­ti­tions help stu­dents with pre­sen­ta­tion skills, net­work­ing and gain­ing new con­nec­tions, and open­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties up in the Agri­cul­tural Sec­tor,” Chris­tian­son notes.

Pho­tos by Heather Cameron

The first place winners in the com­pe­ti­tion, Team Lake­land Col­lege, with Cor Van Raay.

Pho­tos by Heather Cameron

Sec­ond place was Team Leth­bridge.

Photo by Heather Cameron

All of the par­tic­i­pants in the Leth­bridge Col­lege and Univer­sity of Leth­bridge’s agribusi­ness com­pe­ti­tion with its spear­head, Cor Van Raay (cen­tre).

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