Every day was different for University of Manitoba student Ryan Ruchkall, whose summer internship with EMILI at Innovation Farms gave him the opportunity to demonstrate, test, and validate new technologies.

Coming from an agricultural background, Ruckhall always saw himself working within the industry. He is currently enrolled in the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences and is working towards completing his agronomy degree.

“The hands-on experience I gained this summer has not only introduced me to digital agriculture but also provided me with a set of tools that are highly applicable to my degree.” said Ruckhall 

We interviewed Ruckhall about his experience working with EMILI and how he benefited from participating in work-integrated learning (WIL).

Do you have any advice for students looking for placements/summer jobs and why they should consider digital agriculture?

When I first started my agricultural journey, I was determined to pursue a career in animal sciences. However, after taking part in various work placements, I realized that my true passion lies in crop-related work. My recommendation is to work for multiple organizations while pursuing your degree. My diverse experience has helped me expand my skill set, and discover new opportunities.

EMILI summer student Ryan Ruchkall during a June 2022 field tour demonstrates a drone flight over innovation farms.

What skills did you learn this summer?

During my summer, I enhanced my knowledge and skills in the field of agronomy. I was able to gain real-world experience in identifying different growth stages of crops, collecting data on crops and yields, and analyzing the data to develop actionable insights. 

Why should students be interested in digital agriculture?

There are many opportunities in the ag-tech industry, whether you specialize in computer science, business, or other fields.

Jobs in agriculture and agtech will be in high demand as the population grows, and jobs will need to be filled. The agronomic  knowledge I gained is closely related to my courses. Additionally, my on-farm experience will assist me in managing my coursework.

What would you tell other students interested in working with EMILI?

EMILI summer student Ryan Ruchkall

EMILI is a great place to work. I was really happy to learn from Innovation Farms Manager Danielle Bérard and EMILI Project Associate Leanne Koroscil. They were very generous in sharing their knowledge and experience with me, and it was really interesting helping test and validate the projects on Innovation Farms.

The most memorable part of my summer was observing a collaboration between GreenAero Tech and Geco Engineering. It was awesome seeing them combine their technology during our Demo Day. EMILI’s mission is to help foster connections within the industry, so it was cool to witness it in action.

WIL provides a pathway for students like Ruckhall to make connections, learn vital skills, and gain knowledge about career paths they might not be aware of.

At the same time, WIL provides an important opportunity for Industry to leverage the diverse skill sets of students and provide a career pathway into the digital agriculture ecosystem. Visit EMILI’s WIL website to learn more.

Written by Antonio De Luca, EMILI Marketing and Communications Summer Student.