Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
June 07, 2001
Conference to focus on future of rural Canada
If you can play a role in nurturing Canada’s rural sector, you’re part of the target audience for a major conference that will take place at the University of Guelph July 8 to 11.
“Sustaining Rural Canada” is sponsored by the Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC) and its 15 affiliated societies and institutes and the Canadian Society for Engineering in Agricultural, Food and Biological Systems. The program was put together by the hosting Guelph branch of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists. Broadcaster and journalist Rex Murphy will give the opening keynote address July 9 at 9 a.m. He will paint a picture of “The New Rural Reality,” explaining how rural communities provide a foundation for the way all Canadians think of themselves. Murphy will be followed by Ray Bollman, head of the agricultural division of Statistics Canada, who will compare rural demographics at the beginning of the last century with the power and influence of those who populate rural areas today.
Tony Fuller, a Guelph professor in the School of Rural Planning and Development, will tackle the issue of economic strengths in rural communities. He will speculate on the need for future changes to farming, the food industry and the main street of small-town Canada. The rest of the four-day program is a mixture of research presentations, technical and scientific sessions, how-to-use- technology workshops, farm and winery tours, and discussions of major issues facing rural communities. Professionals from across the country who work in areas such as agrology, agrometeorology, agronomy, animal science, horticulture and extension will meet with university food scientists, engineers, economists and rural extension specialists. And they’ll all be talking with farmers, people who run businesses in rural communities and urbanites who want to live in the country but work in the city.
A special feature of the conference is OIT’s 2001 Ag Challenge competition. Forty top agricultural students from universities and colleges in seven provinces will participate in intellectual challenges such as team debate and problem-solving. This is the first time the Ag Challenge has been partnered with the AIC conference. In addition, the University has prepared a special program for elementary and high school students accompanying parents to the conference. “Agri-Food Explorations” will introduce them to Guelph research in the life sciences and give them the opportunity to explore various careers in the agriculture and agri-food industries.
The conference schedule includes options for attending the entire conference, one day’s proceedings or individual professional development workshops. The full-conference fee starts at $290 for members of the 17 affiliated professional associations; $315 for non-members; $75 for students. The complete program and registration form are available online at www.aic2001.com. May 19, 2000.
Note to reporters: Media may attend the conference free of charge.