» Go to news main

Head, hands, health and a whole lot of heart

Posted by Stephanie Rogers on April 27, 2015 in Alumni & Friends, News

By Emma Geldart

To say Breagh Ross (Class of ’15) is involved with her school and her community would be an understatement.

Her countless hours dedicated to extracurricular activities on the agricultural campus and her time spent training and practicing for 4-H competitions did not go unnoticed. For Breagh, her accomplishments are no small feat, considering she doesn’t even have a background in farming.

Originally from Kentville, NS, Breagh is in her fifth year studying environmental science at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus. Not only has she studied at the Agricultural Campus, she has immersed herself in life on campus.

Breagh has been a part of the Dal AC Woodsmen team since she began studying at the Faculty of Agriculture in 2010. She participates in super swedes, vertical chop, and axe throw. In 2013, Breagh was captain of the team and this year co-chaired the national event.

In addition to Woodsmen, Breagh is also the president of Townhouse, a group that helps off-campus students stay involved and participate in campus events.

“Being involved in Townhouse is similar to living on residence,” Breagh explains. “We have house events and participate in DASA events as if we are a residence. It involves students in campus events even though they are not on campus all the time.”

If that isn’t enough, Breagh is also actively involved in 4-H and has been since she was 11 years old. When she was nine her parents enrolled her in horseback riding lessons. At age 11, the barn she was riding at decided to start a 4-H club. Her and a few other girls joined the 4-H club as part of the light horse project. She won her first competition and went to the provincial show that year in Truro. Now 22 years old, she has gone to the provincial show every year since.

Through her time in light horse, she took an interest to showing cows. The next year she joined the dairy project. She has since tried her hand with dairy cows, beef cows, light horse, draft horse and a number of life skills projects such as photography and scrapbooking. She’s even been president, secretary and treasurer of her 4-H club.

“I’ve literally done it all,” Breagh laughs. “I don’t regret one single thing.”

This past fall, Breagh attended Pro Show. She won all of the classes she was entered in. Her performance secured her a spot at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto to compete with her beef cow. This year marks her fourth time going to the Royal to represent Nova Scotia, a first in Nova Scotia history. She explains that another male student is also representing Nova Scotia for his fourth time.

Unfortunately, Breagh got food poisoning on the day of her classes at the Royal. She managed to compete but the results weren’t exactly what she was hoping for.

“I wasn’t feeling the best,” she explains. “I didn’t place in my showmanship class and I came eighth in the conformation class.”

Not only has Breagh’s background in 4-H led her to the Royal, it has led her as far away as Europe. Last summer, Breagh was selected for the Garfield Westin International United Kingdom Exchange. Three members were chosen from across Canada to spend five weeks in Europe experiencing different farming cultures. Breagh traveled with another girl to London where they each went their separate ways to stay with different farming families. Breagh had the chance to experience staying at a horse breeding farm, beef farm, sheep farm, dairy farm, and crop farms. While staying at the farms, Breagh got to work and had a hands-on experience of how the farms differ from farms in Canada. During her five week stay, she lived in Scotland, Wales and Northern and Southern England.

“It was really, really exciting,” Breagh explains. “I wasn’t planning on applying. It was the last day to apply and my mom suggested I submit an application. I was one of the three they selected.”

Breagh’s experience forced her out of her comfort zone. She explains that while she was homesick at first, she learned how to be a more independent person.

“When I first arrived I wasn’t comfortable going anywhere by myself,” Breagh explains. “I was travelling alone by myself no problem by the end of the first week though. Being forced out of my comfort zone taught me so much.”

Through 4-H and the Faculty of Agriculture, Breagh has submerged herself into everything agriculture. But the best part of her agricultural accomplishments? Breagh didn’t grow up on a farm or have any direct ties to agriculture.

She came to Dalhousie from a subdivision in Kentville. The small classes and hands on learning were appealing to her. That, combined with a feel for agriculture through her 4-H experience, was enough to know that the Faculty of Agriculture would be right for her. Now graduating with a degree in environmental science, she is certain she made the right decision. She explains that after graduation she will be moving to Ontario to work at Farm Credit Canada. With her career off to a good start, she hopes to someday own her own vineyard and operate a winery.  

Her involvement with 4-H not only taught her about agriculture, it taught her valuable life skills. It taught her how to be a leader and how to be confident in what she does. Breagh hopes that more people will take advantage of everything 4-H has to offer. Without it, she would not be where she is today.

Breagh can’t attribute all of her success to 4-H though. She owes much of it to herself, her hard work dedication and her pledge to the 4 H’s- head, hands, health and a whole lot of heart!