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Student numbers grow in faculty of agriculture

Students are responding to robust signals from the agriculture sector job market

A growing number of students has enrolled in the University of Manitoba’s faculty of agriculture and food science this fall.

The 2016 fall term enrolment count is 965, which includes 792 degree students and 173 diploma students. These numbers include students in the human nutritional sciences program, which became part of the faculty in 2014.

“We have the happy challenge of trying to find enough classrooms to handle our increased student body,” said Karin Wittenberg, dean of the faculty, who points to increased awareness of the range of careers in agriculture, food and health for the influx of new students.

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“The continuing high demand for our graduates by a robust agri-food industry in Manitoba and the Prairie region means students move from high-quality summer jobs through to fulfilling professional opportunities,” she said. “Our degree programs also continue to attract international students seeking careers in the production and processing sectors.”

Overall, the University of Manitoba posted a fall enrolment of 29,620 students, which marks the fourth consecutive year the University of Manitoba has exceeded 29,000 students on the first day of classes.

Students in the two-year diploma program often return to family farming operations or find jobs in the primary production sector. The School of Agriculture, which administers the diploma program, is currently engaged in wide consultations with the industry as part of curriculum review.

“Feedback from our industry partners has confirmed that our grads have the skills to serve the agri-food community now and in the future,” said Michele Rogalsky, the school’s director. “They are valued for their contributions to farm management teams, especially in the area of farm safety management and communications.”

Taylen Van Den Driessche, a first-year student from Steinbach, Man., chose the diploma program to further his knowledge of the agricultural field. “I enjoy the financial side of things and my hope is to be self-employed after graduation,” he said. “I am also interested in educating people about our industry.”

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