Agricultural Environmental Engineer
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Sector: Agriculture, Engineering
Type: Career Profile
Environmental Science, Math, Physics, Science, Technology & Engineering
I work in an amazing industry with lots of great people. The organization I work for values their employees and fosters a positive culture. I have had exceptional mentors in my short career that have motivated me to do my best work and to always continue learning.
The part I enjoy most about my job is getting to interact with farmers and continually learn about the agricultural industry. Although my job involves administering one piece of legislation, each client I work with has a different project or idea that continues to provide challenges.
Being raised on a farm helped to strengthen my passion for the Agriculture Industry. It has also given me an appreciation for the individuals who produce our food. Every job I have had has been connected to Agriculture – from primary production to producing ready-to-eat food. This career is right for me because it is my passion. Plus, agriculture is the process of producing food, and I love food!
When I was in grade 11, I had an amazing teacher tell me that I should consider Engineering. Not knowing what I wanted to do, I took his suggestion and was accepted into the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. In the first year, you do general engineering courses. In Year 2, you get to specialize in a specific program.
Growing up on a ranch, I knew I wanted to be involved in Agriculture. So I decided to study Agriculture and Bioresource Engineering. The program was diverse; I could have studied machine design, bioprocessing, or environmental protection within the Ag Program. I chose a combination of bioprocessing and environmental protection. I am very happy with that choice as it opened up many career options. I spent a few years right out of University working for Maple Leaf Foods before moving to the public sector. Throughout high school and into university I was fortunate to have many great role models. They helped influence the decisions I made to set up my career.
Engineering is not always easy… But stick with it and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I struggled during the transition from high school to university. However, there were always other students and professors that were willing to help.
For a career in Agriculture, it is extremely beneficial to understand the Ag industry in your area. So get to know a farmer or spend some time reviewing available resources. Food & Farm Care provides videos and information on all aspects of the Agriculture Industry including virtual tours and fun facts.
Being a regulator isn’t always a glamourous job. I often have to give tough messages to non-compliant operators and that usually involves money to fix. However, those tough conversations are necessary to make sure we protect our water.
I like to keep busy, so I have lots of hobbies. I enjoy baking, crafting (sewing, embroidery, other “Pinterest” type things). I like woodworking and gardening (indoor and out – I have over 40 different indoor plants!). I participate in an ultimate Frisbee league year round and curl in the winter months. I also like to run and attend the gym daily.
I work with intensive livestock operations to make sure their operation does not pollute our water resources. I spend a lot of my time inspecting livestock operations. This could include such things as feedlots, hog barns, dairy operations and other livestock areas. This part of my job is to make sure they are following the Provincial Legislation.
I also design the site layout for smaller cattle operations. This includes such things as the pen area and runoff controls. Runoff controls include holding ponds for contaminated water runoff. I work with the livestock producer from the moment they decide to build or expand their operation up until they have built and are operating.
Taking an engineering program helped me develop my problem solving skills. When I combine this with my experience working on the farm, I am able to work with producers to come up with the best option for their operation.
I do most of my work by myself. When I am on site I spend time talking with the client and collecting data on the type of soil. One of my favorite tasks is carrying out test pitting. This involves taking soil samples from six to nine meters below ground surface. I enjoy this because I get to be outside. The data I collect from the test pit helps to determine if the chosen site has soils that are suitable for livestock development.
I was born/grew up in: Lumsden, Saskatchewan, Canada (on a Ranch just outside of Lumsden)
I now live in: Belle Plaine, Saskatchewan, Canada
I completed my training/education at: Agriculture and Bioresource Engineering from The University of Saskatchewan - College of Engineering
When I was
- Foods and Nutrition
- Industrial Arts / Shop Programs
- Physical Education / Health
- Brought people together
- Liked helping people
- Played on a sports team
- Enjoyed working with my hands
- Was motivated by success
- Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
- Was really creative
- Learned best “by doing”
- Liked to design or build things