Kara Irving

Class of ’95
Alumni Volunteer of the Year 2011

The description “an amazing leader and tremendous volunteer” came up many times while completing background research on NSAC’s 2011 Volunteer of the Year award recipient. What makes this description all the more impressive is not only the vast number of agricultural organizations and clubs in which our volunteer of the year dedicates her time, but her willingness to give each group 100 per cent.

Kara Irving’s passion for agriculture steeps so deep that it has always filled her spare time, it was the focus of her education and it’s her career.

After graduating from NSAC in 1995 with a science degree, Kara spent some time employed as a dairy specialist with the Department of Agriculture and as a teaching assistant in the animal science department at NSAC. Eventually Kara’s full-time day job became the family business in Pugwash, N.S., Straitside Holsteins, which she shares with her parents, Keith and Joan. 

As for her other “jobs”, Kara is very active with 4-H, judging every category from poultry, demonstration, to public speaking at local and provincial events, often with barely a moment’s notice. She clerked the dairy category at the N.S. 4-H Show for more than a decade, assisted at the pro show as ring steward, official judge and even substitute show announcer.

The Central Nova Holstein Club has also reaped the benefits of Kara’s time for many years. Serving as club secretary, Kara volunteers at shows and sales hosted by the club. She helps with club functions, including Master breeder recognition evenings, judging schools and picnics. For the most part, Kara is the sole organizer of such events.  Additionally she looks after the club finances, meeting notices, agendas, awards, advertising, promotions and annual meetings.
Kara is an official judge with Holstein Canada and for the 2011 National Holstein Convention, she was the first volunteer to sign-up. As secretary and chair of the banquet committee, Kara co-ordinated the Master Breeder Banquet, Atlantic Lobster Feast, Exhibitors Breakfast, and refreshments at the annual meeting.  

Kara spent eight years as a member of the Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia Board of Directors. During this time she was an adamant supporter of emergency planning at the farm level. Kara volunteered to serve as co-chair of the Atlantic dairy emergency planning committee. She oversaw numerous meetings and conference calls of the steering committee and sub committees to ensure delivery of an emergency management plan to every dairy farm in Atlantic Canada. She very much believed in the cause and volunteered her time for this very special initiative.  

Among these activities, Kara has opened the barn doors at Straitside Holsteins nearly every year for Open Farm Day, she’s also been involved with the Ag Awareness committee and active with the Maritime Fall Fair.

Perhaps what makes Kara such a valuable volunteer is her strong people skills. Kara has a very natural knack for dealing with others, bringing them onside and making everyone feel a part of the success.  She has been described to have a “cool head” from start to finish of a task and more importantly, can find the humour needed to get a group through almost any situation.

When not attending meetings, volunteering or milking cows, Kara enjoys travelling, photography and spending time at her cottage.

Kara is a perfect example of NSAC’s belief that one person can make a difference.  It is most fitting that Kara Irving be named the 2011 recipient of NSAC’s Alumni Volunteer of the Year award.