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Youth members invited onto Mountain View County ag board

“If we can get two youth members to sit on our ag service board that is money that we are never going to have wasted..." said reeve Angela Aalbers

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has approved a change to the terms of reference of the agricultural service board (ASB) to allow for the appointment of two youth members to the board.

The move came by way of motion the recent regularly scheduled council meeting. 

The ASB is made up of county councillors and appointed members of the public. It advises the county and the province on agriculture-related issues and concerns.

During the county organizational meeting following the recent municipal election, council provided direction to the ag service board to consider a member-at-large spot dedicated for a young farmer within the county.

The changes to the terms of reference’s membership section now read, in part: “Council may choose to appoint two additional citizens at large that meet the following criteria: the individuals are 35 years of age or younger at the time of appointment; the individual’s primary residence is located in Mountain View County; and the individual’s primary source of income is from farming.”

The budget implications of the change are $661.80 per diem/month and ASB conference attendance at $5,000 (approximate). 

Reeve Angela Aalbers says the addition of two youth members to the board is a positive move.

“We are always taking about the strength in our 4-H community and we have an absolutely amazing opportunity here, in my opinion, to really get some young members on this committee,” said Aalbers.

“I think this is going to be a great opportunity for the county to put their money where their mouth is and support not only agriculture but to support getting youth involved in decision-making within the county.

“If we can get two youth members to sit on our ag service board that is money that we are never going to have wasted because we are really going to engage our community and I’m hoping we are going to get a lot of applications on this.”

She said she hopes there will be applications submitted by local 4-H members.

“We are going to have a larger board but we are going to get a lot more diversity, so I’m not worried about the budget and I’m not worried about the youth members,” she said. “I would encourage us to get young people involved.”

Coun. Dwayne Fulton, who sits on the ASB, says he is optimistic that applications for the positions will be received.

“We have to give it a go,” said Fulton.

Council will have the ultimate authority on who is appointed to the board, noted Chris Atchison, the county's director of legislative services.

Membership of the ASB will now three councillors, four citizens at large, and two youth members. All members are appointed for three-year terms.