Uncovering a love for agriculture
By Katherine Doyle
You don’t have to grow up with a farming background to uncover a passion for agriculture. Something that fourth-year Plant Science major, Morgan McNeil knows all too well.
Morgan grew up in the small residential community of Hantsport, Nova Scotia. Though she didn’t grow up on a farm, that didn’t stop her from getting involved with agriculture, joining the 4-H program at the age of 10.
“It’s by fluke how I got involved in 4-H actually, given that I don’t have a farming background. My dad was browsing the newspaper one morning and saw an ad for 4-H in the local area. He inquired about it, and my family attended a meeting.”
Morgan was drawn to plants by taking the gardening project in 4-H and learning to grow her own food. The health benefits of fruits and vegetables made her interest in plant crops for food use even greater.
Just like that she was hooked.
“I am very passionate about agriculture. I love gardening and growing plants. It’s rewarding to harvest a healthy crop and I feel like a true Aggie working with my hands in the soil!”
It was Morgan’s involvement in 4-H that brought her to the Agricultural Campus. “I truly believe that if I didn’t join 4-H, I would never have considered pursuing a post-secondary education and career in agriculture,” she explains.
In January, Morgan was named as one of two people in the country to receive the Canada Outstanding Young Farmers Memorial Scholarship. To be eligible, Morgan submitted an essay on why she was passionate about agriculture in Canada.
"Paired with my love for good quality, nutritious, fresh local food to sustain life and good health, I strongly believe there isn’t a better industry I could dedicate my time and efforts towards,” she explained.
“I was lucky, very honored and appreciative to receive this scholarship.”
Morgan recently received word that she has been selected to participate in a Going Global 4-H Exchange program this summer. She will be traveling to the U.K. for two weeks and hosting a delegate here for one month.
“This experience will give me a perspective on agricultural practices in Europe and how they compare to Canada,” she explains.
Students who have applied for a travel opportunity and deemed eligible, are then selected to participate in the program. Morgan believes that 4-H looks for candidates that are strong 4-H ambassadors, who are responsible and are open to experiencing new cultures.
Over her four years with the Faculty of Agriculture, Morgan has gotten to know many wonderful people who remember her by name, which in her opinion, is more meaningful and provides her with a sense of community. As for her 4-H community? Having just aged out as a 4-H member, Morgan has been approved to return to 4-H as a Garden Project Leader.
“I think it’s important to have a positive attitude, to be optimistic about life and to follow your dreams.”
And it all began with 4-H!