Canada’s 150th year of ag education marked

The founding of Canada’s first agriculture college 150 years ago was a “catalyst” for the regional development of Quebec, provincial cabinet ministers said Monday in marking the occasion.

Agriculture Minister Laurent Lessard, Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre and Natural Resources Minister Claude Bechard appeared Saturday at the south shore community of La Pocatiere, about 140 km northeast of Quebec City to mark the anniversary’s opening ceremonies.

La Pocatiere is where Father Francois Pilote in 1859 founded l’Ecole d’agriculture de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatiere, which later led to the formation of the faculty of agriculture and food sciences at Laval University and the Institut de technologie agroalimentaire (ITA), which has campuses at La Pocatiere and St-Hyacinthe.

Ag education played a key role in the development of Quebec, and particularly the agricultural development of the south shore (Cote du Sud) region on the south side of the St. Lawrence, the provincial government said in a release Monday.

The power of innovation encouraged through ag education assured a promising future for the agriculture and agri-food sector, Lessard said.

Agriculture is now the principal economic activity in the Bas-Saint-Laurent (lower St. Lawrence region), the ministers noted. The ag industry employs about 1,500 people in the region and generates net revenues of over $60 million.

Events running in conjunction with the 150th anniversary include Expo-Poc, a weekend exhibition (April 17-19) for the general public to experience the world of agriculture and agri-food with help from ITA students and staff at La Pocatiere.

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