The winners of the program, called "Advancing a National Dialogue," are: Laura Raimondi (first place), Angela Greter (second place), and Ricardo Vargas (third place). The winners are awarded scholarships in the amount of $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place.
The students were tasked with addressing the question: “How can we fundamentally transform how we collaborate and innovate in order to meet emerging challenges and opportunities faced across the agriculture and agri-food sector?” The student papers are posted on CAPI’s website.
“The program is designed to generate creative ideas from graduate students on what we need as a country to improve the competitiveness and profitability of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector,” said David McInnes, President & CEO of CAPI.
Laura Raimondi is a Masters student in environmental management at Royal Roads University in Victoria, studying the emerging field of food systems and their implications for environmental sustainability. Her paper is entitled “Enhancing Viability of the Agri-food Sector through Local Food and Governance Systems.” It explores the potential of municipally enabled and supported agriculture to enhance the viability of the agriculture and agri-food sector. “As a scientist I saw all these great findings about improving the environment. But there was a disconnect between those findings and how to integrate them into society,” she said. “I want to take those findings and apply them to a practical setting.”
Angela Greter is a PhD student in animal behaviour at Guelph University. In her paper, “Growing Forward: A Compassionate Future - The Development and Implementation of Animal Welfare Standards,” Greter argues that the absence of robust animal-welfare laws is putting Canada’s meat industry at risk due to growing concerns from consumers in other countries. “It’s an issue that is becoming more and more important as the public becomes aware, especially in Europe. We’re going to have to make some changes if we’re going to continue exporting,” she said.
Ricardo Vargas is a Masters student in agricultural economics at Université Laval in Québec City. In his paper, “Position Paper on the Dairy Sector’s Structural Surpluses: A New Path Toward an Enhanced Market,” he proposes focusing the country’s dairy products exporters on the constituents of milk, rather than milk itself. With milk supplies exceeding demand, the sector needs to find alternatives marketing strategies that can bring farmers a better income, Vargas wrote. “I have been interested in the Canadian dairy policy and how supply management applies to this sector for some time,” he said. He and his adviser are now preparing “an economic simulation about a different use for the current Canadian dairy structural surplus.”
“Advancing a National Dialogue” is a three-year program supported by Farm Credit Canada. Interested candidates may apply online through the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) website at www.aucc.ca/bourses. The application closing date is March 30, 2012. The program is open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are pursuing graduate studies in the schools of agricultural science, food science, nutrition science, environmental science and/or economic studies within Canadian universities.
The Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI) is an independent, unbiased policy forum that is dedicated to the success of Canada's agriculture and agri-food sector. CAPI is a catalyst. It identifies emerging issues, promotes dialogue and advances alternative solutions to issues with stakeholders across the diverse agriculture and agri-food value chain, and among academia, research institutes, governments and other sectors in Canada. Based in Ottawa, CAPI was established as a not-for-profit corporation in 2004 by the federal government and is guided by a diverse Board of Directors and an Advisory Committee.
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