Alumni News

Alumni inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame

Three OAC alumni will be inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame: John Curtis, Brian Little and Murray Mills.

The induction will take place on June 14 at Country Heritage Park in Milton, ON.

Meahan Griffiths in red shirt standing in front of a FS PARTNERS sign

Q&A with a precision agronomist

Meagan Griffiths
Precision Agronomist CCA-ON, 4R NMS, FS PARTNERS
B.Sc. (Agr.) Crop, Horticultural and Turfgrass Sciences, 2012; M.Sc. Plant Agriculture, 2014

Head shot of Shannon.

Q&A with an Indigenous community planner

Shannon Labelle recently graduated in October 2019 with an M.Sc. in Rural Planning and Development, but she landed her dream job four months before graduation! She recently sat down with us to chat about her role, Indigenous planning and her transition into the workplace.

Headshot of Christopher Naese

Q&A with a food industry expert

Christopher Naese graduated with a B.Sc. Agr. in Dairy Science in ’85. He was one of rare co-op students at the time, but his work experience helped him land a job that set him on a prosperous and exciting career trajectory. Today he’s the Vice President of Business Development for Florida Food Products and took some time to share insights on food industry business trends.   

Ashley Knapton outside wearing green shirt

The pursuit of career happiness

So what do you want to do after school?” It’s a question that every university student is asked, and probably more times than they’d like.

For Ashley Knapton, B.Sc. (Agr.) ’13, the answer was simple: become a dairy classifier.

Classifiers, an unbiased thirdparty group of trained people, score dairy cows based on industry-outlined criteria. They travel from farm to farm to evaluate the physical structure of the cow. It’s a service that helps producers make informed decisions and is often used as a pride point for dairy breeders.

Wyatt McWilliams snd Josh Moran lean on a farm fence post

You reap what you sow

When I returned home to Eastern Ontario after completing my first year at U of G, I was so excited to share the stories of my experiences at Guelph. One day, I told a farmer about my friend Clayton McWilliams, whom I had met at Guelph. The farmer immediately asked if Clayton was related to Wyatt McWilliams. I didn’t know. Wyatt was a new name to me. But it was clear that Wyatt was a well-known person in agriculture, and his story was one I wanted to hear.

So, I began asking questions. And the more I learned about Wyatt, the more I wanted to know.

Up close crop of Colleen Mercer Clarke

An architect for nature

We see them every day, all around us: the interconnections between the natural and humanmade worlds. A lot of hard work and critical thought have gone into the design of parks, school playgrounds and local streets. But who did this work? Most likely a landscape architect.

Colleen Mercer Clarke describes the profession of landscape architecture as “being architects for nature.”

Patrick with brewing equipment behind him

Behind the brew

Brewing craft beer isn’t just trendy and full of cheers says Patrick Wynn-Williams, B.Sc. ’12. He knows first-hand the dedication and stamina it takes to work in this industry.

“As fun as it might be, and it is definitely fun, it is also a lot of hard work,” says the packaging and shipping technician at Escarpment Laboratories in Guelph.

Group of sitting government officials smiling, Tendai sitting with them on the right.

Starting from scratch

"One minute you have it all, and then you find yourself with nothing.”

Tendai Wilkerson didn’t own land in Zimbabwe when the government heated up its land reform policies, but she did lose everything.

Tendai’s employer, HSBC Bank, closed-up shop in the late 1990s over fears that it would not be able to repatriate its profits. Atrained lawyer, she found herself unemployed with no job prospects amid economic collapse.

Wendy standing in rice field with green rice plants all around

Bringing rice to Canadian fields

In Grade 10, Wendy Zhang, B.Sc. (Agr.) 2016, M.Sc. 2018, set a goal for herself. She would grow rice in Canada.

Last fall, Wendy harvested her first Canadian rice crop from a 2.5-acre test plot in Chatham Kent, Ont. The pilot project of Ontario FangZheng Agriculture Enterprise Inc. was a terrific success, with an average yield of 6,920 lbs. per acre (or 154 bushels per acre).

Wendy came to Canada from China nine years ago to pursue her bachelor’s degree.

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