Breaking the Agricultural Stigma
Jay Woodworth is passionate about many things, but breaking the stigma around agriculture is number one on her list.
“There is such a disconnect that has arisen as a result of convenience- we can go to the market now and buy anything we need without thinking about who raised it, in what region, climate or lifestyle. Farmers dedicate their entire lives to production on a level that most of the public doesn’t understand.”
Jay believes that breaking the stigma around agriculture and making the actual day-to-day lifestyle of a farmer more understandable to the consumer should be high priority to the industry.
“Agriculture has always been part of my lifestyle. I’m passionate about sharing the little I do know about such lifestyles but often the disconnection results in a lack of acceptance by the general public.”
Growing up in Wentworth, NS, Jay was no stranger to agriculture. She grew up showing horses and beef cattle in 4-H and competed with a quarter horse in both English and Western flat classes, where she was always most fond of showmanship. “Last year, I had the opportunity to take a shorthorn heifer to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto through the 4-H program and was lucky enough to make it into the semi-finals for showmanship.”
Jay is also a member of the AC woodsmen women’s A team, “both our men’s and women’s teams won the CILA league this year so it was an exciting time to compete. I contend with a partner (Jessie Swinamer) in underhand chop and individually in axe throw.” Woodsmen members also compete in team events including log decking, sawing and pits.
Two years ago, Jay landed a summer position as a research coordinator and when she was offered to continue the position she couldn’t turn it down. “I’ve been an Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Project Research Coordinator for the Truro site here on campus for the past two years. It is an ongoing six-year study funded partially by McGill University which looks at gases on pasture and dairy herd production so I get to work with Holsteins all summer and do a lot of data in the winter time.”
Following this summer position, Jay transferred to the Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) in Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) program at Dalhousie’s Truro Campus, from Saint Francis Xavier University where she was studying physics.
“I’ve taken engineering classes at bigger schools and I found that with the class sizes it’s hard to get to know your professors. At AC, I’m able to interact with my professors and get a sense that they’re looking out for my best interests. They want to see you succeed,” she explained.
Engineering has allowed Jay to hone all of her interests in one place. “I can relate environmental concerns to innovative tactics in a way that actually produces solutions instead of just theories. It’s rewarding to be able to learn in an environment that allows you to think on an application level and a theoretical level all at once.”
Following graduation in May, Jay will return to complete her Masters in Agriculture in the Environmental Science department!
“I love being able to create solutions to problems with the knowledge that I’ve attained in other fields- that’s what brought me to engineering.”