International Women’s Day – Nancy Smith

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the agriculture industry in Nova Scotia

I was raised on a 7th generation farm in central Nova Scotia and was involved in 4-H for 10 years. My passion for all things agriculture related took me to the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and McGill University’s Macdonald College to pursue a bachelor’s degree in animal science.

My interest in nutrition landed me at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. After graduating with a master’s degree in animal nutrition, I returned to Nova Scotia to work as a livestock nutritionist at the province’s two Purina feed mills. After 10 years in the feed industry, I moved into biotech and spent a couple of years as a research nutritionist with Acadian Seaplants Ltd.
While taking a few years off to raise my three kids, I became actively involved with 4-H again, as a parent and leader. I also stayed connected to agriculture through part time work in the dairy industry. I decided to return to the work force full time with a contract in poultry and mink extension work and then a stint in the poultry industry with Atlantic Poultry Inc.

My experience in so many areas of agriculture served me well when I joined Farm Credit Canada (FCC) in 2017 as a Relationship Manager in the Truro office. As the closest contact to our customers, I partner with them to not only develop financing packages that meet their business needs but to also build relationships that set the FCC customer experience apart. Our shared interest in agriculture makes it a joy to be a part of helping my customer’s reach their goals.

I love being in the field, seeing firsthand the innovative and exciting projects underway in the industry. The diversity of what our customers do is a testament to the depth of agricultural opportunities in Nova Scotia and across Canada. My current position at FCC combines all of the experiences and diverse skills I’ve developed over the years and has also allowed me to return to the Truro area, where I started my career. There has never been a shortage of interesting and fulfilling career options in the ag industry, whether full time, part time or contract.

What is one message you would like to share about women in agriculture for International Women’s Day?

Agriculture is the most important industry in the world. It is the primary source of our food supply along with renewable raw materials for many other industries. Agriculture provides diverse and interesting employment opportunities and job security. Agriculture plays a role in healing the environment and reducing the effects of climate change. Especially in Canada, agriculture is modern, progressive and hi-tech.

Women have always been essential to agriculture and food production economies, both on the front lines and in support roles behind the scenes. There is certainly no shortage of fulfilling career options for women in this industry.

Working for an industry that is essential for human life and responsible for maintaining the environment for future generations is both humbling and gratifying. I have never regretted my choice to work in the industry that feeds the world and encourage others to do the same. Whether it’s producing, researching, engineering, or marketing to name a few, there is a place for anyone interested in agriculture.