Enrolment in my Agricultural Communications I class at the University of Guelph has climbed since I began offering public speaking a few years ago. Students say public speaking helps them prepare for the inevitability of addressing a group, and they appreciate the opportunity to learn in an academic setting before they actually have to do it on the job. My class holds a speak-off with six top finishers going on to the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. I’m pleased to serve as the academic advisor to the program, which received a boost when Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada dedicated $100,000 to the event, through the Canadian 4-H Council. Hon. Gerry Ritz, minister of  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, is pictured here in Ottawa congratulating Canadian 4-H Council President Judy Shaw of Syngenta Crop Protection Canada, along with competition board chair Ted Young (middle, right) and president Eric Dalke.