I’m studying crops now every day, and it’s just amazing what they’re capable of.
Stephen’s family grows corn, soybeans, and winter wheat on their farm near Exeter, ON, where they also raise broiler chickens and grow white beans. His grandparents began farming when they came over from the Netherlands in the mid 1950’s. Eventually, his father was able to quit his off-farm job as a truck driver to join the farm full-time. Now, Stephen and his brothers are involved in the day to day operation, and their grandparents have retired.
After high school, Stephen attended the University of Guelph and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Plant Science in 2016. After graduation, he decided to pursue a master’s degree in agronomy studying soybean production and management at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Moving to Indiana, he has been able to experience some innovative cropping system and learned about Midwest U.S agriculture.
After completing his program in this upcoming May, he wants to return the family farm and become more involved in the day to day operations. “After high school I knew I liked plants. I raised a garden every summer and I was intrigued by them, so I want to learn how to grow them better,” Stephen says. Studying plant science at Guelph introduced Stephen to plant science research and he chose to do his Master’s degree as a chance to apply that agronomy knowledge into research.
Growing up on the farm has taught Stephen many things, such as the value of a good work ethic, and how to prioritize different tasks. “It is important to be innovate and willing to try new things. I like the way we do things at home, and I wouldn’t change growing up on the farm for anything.”