Meet Chris, Crop Science Student

Posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Chris stands outside in jacket beside a sign saying "Crop Science"

About Christopher Olbach

Growing up on a broiler breeder farm, Christopher Olbach came to OAC to expand his knowledge of agriculture. Focusing on crop science, Chris hopes to get into the field (literally) as a crop agronomist. He is an active member of the OAC community as the president of his class and enjoys the relationships he is building at the University.

Program: Bachelor of Science in Agriculture - Crop, Horticulture and Turfgrass Sciences
Hometown: St. Marys, Ontario
Year of study: Second Year

Why did you decide to come to Guelph?

There were many factors that played into my choice to come to Guelph, but the most influential reasons were my passionate interest in agriculture coupled with a determination to contribute to it. Being the youngest of five brothers growing up together on the family broiler chicken breeder farm, agriculture has always been a large part of my identity. In high school, I was regularly intrigued by the ways my farm experience would find its way into what I studied. After becoming aware of OAC, I made the choice to pursue my degree hoping that it would stem into a career in agriculture.

What do you like best about your program so far?

Academically, my program develops a well-rounded knowledge of the versatile industry that is agriculture. What we are taught can be applied on the farm level and I really like that aspect of it. Apart from academics, my favourite part about OAC is networking and building relationships with the professionals and students who share my passion.

Do you have a favourite class?

There are a number of classes that I have enjoyed. Economics in the Agrifood System (FARE*1400), which was taught by Prof. John Cranfield, was my favourite class in first year. A class I always look forward to this semester is Soils in Agroecosystems (AGR*2320) taught by Prof. John Lauzon. He is an excellent professor who has no problem articulating his knowledge of soils and conveying applicable farm management knowledge to the class.

What residence did you live in during first year?

I was part of the Aggie Cluster, which was in Lennox-Addington. I was able to walk down my hall the first day and meet people who shared my interest in agriculture whether they came from the rural routes, small towns or big cities. I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of my residence because I was able to network and build relationships, learning academically in class but also socially from the people in OAC. Inevitably, we also had a good time.

How are you involved on campus or in Guelph?

Apart from being an enthusiastic member of the OAC Class of 2017 and participating in class activities, I’ve had the privilege of becoming Class President. I also enjoy participating in various clubs when I find the time, such as the Soil and Crop Club, the Poultry Club, and more recently, the Swine Club.

Where is your favourite spot to hang out on campus?

When I need to get some studying done on campus, I like the atmosphere of the Science Complex Atrium since I have never really been a library person. Another great place is the Aggie Lounge in Johnston Hall where you can always find someone to talk crops and livestock with. I discovered pretty early that the food here is really good. In particular, Creelman Hall is an excellent place to eat and if you are looking for a beer, the Brass Taps is a good place.

What are your favourite ways to procrastinate from studying?

There are weekends where I like to go home to the farm, which is the cause of most of my procrastination. I often take my books and studies home only to find that at the end of the weekend I haven’t opened a single one. Some might say this is kind of counter-intuitive, but a small break to do some hands on work with my brothers, see my parents, and go to church Sunday morning often kicks me back into gear the following week.

Did you have a job this past summer?

For my first summer job, I had the privilege of working in the mill for Shur-Gain in St. Marys. I started working for Shur-Gain in 2012 during the summer and occasionally throughout the rest of the year. After my first year at OAC, I decided to continue  working for Shur-Gain for another year as I enjoyed working there and the experience I was gaining. Working in the feed mill was pretty instrumental in stimulating my interests and getting me involved with the agricultural community. This coming summer, I will be working as a technical sales and agronomy intern in Southwestern Ontario for DuPont Pioneer.

What career do you hope to have after graduation?

I hope to pursue a career in field crop agronomy and continue my involvement with farming on the production level. With a major in crop science, I anticipate to broaden my knowledge of agriculture in such a way that will help me work alongside farmers solving problems and improving agriculture in the field. 

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