The Next Gen Agricultural Mentorship Program is up and running for another year, with another local agriculture specialist participating as a mentee. Morgan Heidecker, originally from Middle Lake, is a mentee, matched with her mentor, Sheldon Kyle, a Red Angus producer from the Redvers area.
The program matches eight young leaders in the agriculture industry with experienced professionals for an 18-month mentorship where they gain skills and experiences to advance their careers. Mentees gain industry knowledge, board and governance training, business education and networking opportunities that align with their existing skills, interests and desired outcomes.
"The Next Gen Agriculture Mentorship Program plays an important role in the sustainability of the agriculture sector," said Agriculture Minister David Marit. "Through this mentorship, bright, young leaders can develop the essential skills and tools to advance their careers and, ultimately, advance the industry. Congratulations to the mentees and thank you to the mentors for your guidance."
Heidecker took interest in the program through Agribition where she and her family traditionally show cattle.
“Then I had peers within the industry who started to participate in it,” Heidecker explains. “So for the last couple of years, I had my eye on the program, and it definitely looked like a good one.”
Heidecker is a graduate of the U of S with a Bachelor in Agribusiness and a minor in agronomy. She sees the mentorship as an extension of her education with chances to network and further explore industry opportunities. With the eight mentees and their mentors from across the province, Heidecker sees there’s a wide range of experience from which to draw.
Heidecker returns to the area following her schooling. Her new job with Lake Lenore Ag Co-op allows her to return closer to her family farm and once again be involved in their cattle operation. No doubt the knowledge to be shared by mentor Sheldon Kyle will be put to good use.
“For us, our operation consists of raising commercial calves to sell at market, selling beef off the farm, as well as selling purebred hereford bulls.”
During the 18 months of her mentorship, Heidecker will work with Kyle and her counterparts to coordinate activities, information sessions, and eventually visits to Kyle’s Kenray Ranch. Industry events based on the mentees’ interests will be part of the package. Much of the activity planning for the program is self-directed, says Heidecker.
“There are a few scheduled events, meetings and conferences, and the rest of it is all up to us to go after what interests us.”
The Next Gen Agriculture Mentorship Program is funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year, $3 billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors.
More information about the program is available online at saskatchewan.ca/CAP.