Friday, 10 November 2017 06:40

Cor Van Raay Agribusiness farm case competition real life agricultural exercise

Written by  Demi Knight
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The university of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College get together this November to host a competition unlike any other in western Canada.

For the third time, the Cor Van Raay Agribusiness Case Competition that is taking place at the university of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge College Nov. 3-4 saw students and industry professionals alike coming together to explore, learn and network in the agriculture, business administration, commerce, and management sectors.
With humble roots and great intentions this event was brought to light in Lethbridge after a significant donation, rocked the education system and highlighted the importance of agriculture and business to the economy.
“It all originated when Mr. Cor Van Raay, a farmer north of Lethbridge made a significant donation to the college and the University with an idea in his mind to encourage more agriculture mindsets in the education system,” says this year’s organizer of the event, Sally Turner.
After one of southern Alberta’s most prominent agricultural entrepreneurs donated $5 million in 2014 to the university of Lethbridge and Lethbridge college to ensure the continuation and development of the agriculture and agribusiness sectors, the event was born.
With two days full of networking, problem solving, team work activities, and a written case competition, students enrolled within agriculture studies, business administration, commerce, and management programs are offered the opportunity to attend this event and put their theoretical knowledge to the test while developing new skills as they go.
However, it’s not just students in attendance at this now yearly event, but industry professionals and partners as well, which Turner says is a great added feature for both parties.
“I think with industry professionals being involved it really shows those industries where the students are at by being able to network with them as they grow into their careers through education.”
“And with industry supporting the event,” Turner added “it really shows students that these events are important to help them develop professionally into their careers.”
The event kicked off Nov. 3 at the Markin Hall in the University of Lethbridge, all students registered to attend were to enjoy a networking event with keynote speaker presentations which this year were scheduled to include agriculture sustainability manager with Agrium Inc, Michelle Nutting and corporate social responsibility specialist, also with Agrium Inc, Lindsay Verharghe.
The following day then sees the case competition spring into action as students in teams of a maximum of five, come together with four hours on the clock to analyze a written case, develop a solution and deliver a fifteen-minute presentation to a panel of judges. This competition also offers the added bonus of a cash prize to the winning team. After the competition the evening sets in and the students were able to attend a post-competition mixer and a special dinner and gala awards night at the Lethbridge College.
“This year there is a maximum number of students allowed to participate within the event due to the timing of all the events of 60 people, because for the competition we can have up to 12 teams with five students on each team,” says Turner of the yearly competitions turnout.
After last year saw numbers rising up to 52 students in attendance, this year, the competition is stocked full, with two teams coming from outside of Lethbridge to participate in the event, one from the University of Saskatchewan and the other coming from Vermillion’s Lakeland college.
With no course requirements or registration fees, but just a goal to create a learning experience like no other, this competition has grown over it’s past couple years in existence and furthered its reach. Both through interest of outside industries and through students wanting to take part, the event has become a pivotal experience to all those involved as a great opportunity to come out, have fun, and make connections all whilst furthering one’s learning says Turner of the Cor Van Raay Agribusiness case competition.
“The key note speakers that come out to talk about present ideas and challenges re great for students and we’re evolving with that every year so that all the students participating can get to develop their skills in such a wide variety of areas as well as getting the opportunity to really express themselves and work with other people.”

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