By Tom Collins
PERTH — Ottawa-based Algonquin College will offer a two-year agricultural management program starting in the fall of the 2019 to fill a void after the closure of Kemptville College.
The nearly 100-year-old Kemptville College was shuttered in 2015, forcing Eastern Ontario students who want to go to an Ontario ag college, to either go to the French-speaking Alfred campus, east of Ottawa, or travel hours away to Ridgetown College, west of Toronto.
“We hear over and over again that the Kemptville closure has been a significant challenge for the agricultural community,” said Sara Munroe, academic chair of Algonquin’s Perth campus. “It was a staple as far as programming was concerned, so its absence has been felt. We’ve decided to offer (an ag program) to fill what we identified as a gap in the agricultural and business industry.”
The program was approved by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities last month. Instructors will include farmers.
The program will focus more on business management than hands-on technical learning and will include courses on crop production, livestock business operation, animal health and nutrition, and fruit and vegetable production. Some management courses include management fundamentals, equipment and asset management and dairy business operations.
Students will be required to spend summers on a co-op placement, which could be a student’s family farm. Since Algonquin’s Perth campus has no residence, students travelling long distances will have to find a place to rent.
Applications are expected to open later this fall. There is currently a maximum of 44 student spots.