Caroline Mahlig - 2012 Winning Essay

Caroline Mahlig

From the time I was a little girl I’ve wanted to own a farm. Of course, since I’m a woman from downtown Gatineau many people have discouraged me from pursuing this career. I didn’t know exactly how to get into the field of agriculture, so I started out volunteering for large animal vets. I had a chance to visit a number of farms and to appreciate the noble career of farming.

I then enrolled in Natural Sciences at Collège Hèritage with the intention of studying Agronomy at McGill. This was quite a challenge because English isn’t my mother tongue. With a lot of effort and perseverance I managed to become fluent in English, so I had no hesitation in enrolling in Agro-Environmental Sciences with a Major in Animal Health and Disease at McGill. Since then I’ve worked on McGill’s dairy farm, where I’ve learned the technical skills and the enthusiasm needed to be a farmer.

Last summer, I worked for the Quèbec Ministry of the Environment inspecting farmers’ use of pesticides. I had the privilege of working with experienced farmers and agronomists, and this helped me learn more about agriculture. At that job I saw how hard it would be for me to fit in as a woman in this male-dominated field, but I intend to persevere and make a place for myself in the agricultural industry as a future agronomist and farmer.