Canadian Western Agribition's Next Gen Agriculture Mentorship Program welcomed the newest group of eight young agriculture leaders. This program matches young leaders in the agriculture industry with experienced professionals who provide them with skills and experiences to advance their careers. The Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan committed $100,000 in funding through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to support this intake of mentees.
One of the successful mentees chosen to participate in this intake is Blaine Lamontagne, formerly of Wawota, paired with mentor Danny Petty.
Mentees are paired with some of the strongest leaders in Canadian agriculture. During their 18-month mentorship experience, mentees will gain industry knowledge, board and governance training, business education and networking opportunities.
Lamontagne graduated from Wawota High School in 2012 and then attended University in Saskatoon where he earned a diploma in agronomy and then a bachelor of science degree, also in agronomy.
Since graduating from university, he has spent the past four years as a district sales manager for Nachurs Alpine Solutions in Saskatoon, a company that pioneered precision liquid fertilizer formulated to meet the nutritional demands of crops and growing conditions.
“I love my job at Alpine and there's lots of room for growth,” explains Lamontagne and adds “I get to deal with a lot of great farmers.”
“I work the same hours as farmers work, especially this time of year.”
Lamontagne’s mentor was chosen according to the goals that he had set when he applied, and then found a mentor that would match well with those goals.
Some of Lamontagne's goals were to build his networking branch or pool of people to know in the agriculture industry.
“It's a very small world and I know first-hand how well it can be when you know more people. I kind of wanted to learn more of the board and governing of the ag industry and just be more of an ag advocate.”
His mentor will correlate seminars and training and trade shows, which are usually held more in the winter time. His mentor will be on hand to answer any questions he may have.
“We'll attend Agribition every year as a meet and greet,” explains Lamontagne.
“My mentor will help me try to figure out certain seminars and training sessions that I should attend to help reach my goals.”
“I'll get out of it as much as I put into it.”
Lamontagne has a particular interest in agriculture – in his line of work he’s involved in both the cattle and grain industry although the majority in his line of work deals with the grain industry.
“I also help farmers with their hayland for cattle,” says Lamontagne. “Growing up I was more in the cattle side of things. As I got into University it was more in the grain industry.”
Lamontagne grew up in 4H throughout his younger years, spending much of his time on his dad’s cattle farm and his grandfather’s mixed farm.
What does Lamontagne hope to gain from this experience?
“The biggest reason is the networking and the people I can meet. I never want to have a door closed. I like to see all the opportunities that the agriculture industry can bring.”
“Even hopefully helping grow the awareness of how food is grown in Saskatchewan - there's a big consumer misconception. Many people in urban and even rural areas may not know exactly how things are grown and what's actually a part of what you're eating.”