I'm pleased to work with Ted Young, Clare Rennie, former students Katie Cheesmond and Nicole Swain and others, as the faculty advisory for the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture competition. The topics for this year's competition have just been announced:

* Behind the scenes: The unsung heroes of Canadian agriculture

* Changes I would make as the Federal Minister of Agriculture for a day

* How Canadian agriculture is being affected by the global economic downturn

* Why I want to make my career in agriculture

* Farming the future: Taking agriculture into the 21st century

For the past two years my undergraduate agricultural communications class has held a speak-off, with the winners going on to the competition which is held at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Two years ago Christina Crowley won the event, with Claire Cowan placing second. Last year, Colleen O'Shea was a finalist. We'll look forward to supporting the competition again this year, as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.