Each year, students can apply for Family Business Atlantic’s John Abbass Sr. Memorial Scholarship and receive $2,000 towards their post-secondary pursuits. The association is pleased to announce this year’s scholarship winner: Jeremy Sutherland of Middle Musquodoboit.
Born and raised on Belland Farms, a fifth-generation dairy farm in rural Nova Scotia, Jeremy has been provided with many unique opportunities to experience the influence of family business, with his role beginning at an early age.
“Being involved in the family business has fueled my passion for agriculture,” says Jeremy, “it’s provided me with a strong sense of appreciation for farming and has opened my eyes to the importance of the agricultural industry to Nova Scotia’s economy.”
Through the mentorship of his father, Jeremy acquired many skills and carried out extensive tasks throughout his youth such as cropping, milking and providing general animal care.
“At the age of nine, I purchased my first flock of hens using my own money and started a small egg business where profits went towards feeding expenses and reinvesting in new hens,” he says. An invaluable experience – “it taught me how business works on a smaller scale and what it’s like to manage and implement a business plan and learn from the variable outcomes.”
There are many challenges to working in a family business and being able to collaborate in a cooperative manner goes a long way for the Sutherland family. “As new generations enter the business, it’s essential to find a way to bridge any generational gaps; with new ideas being brought forth and the implementation of new technologies, there are times where the family may not always agree,” he says.
The Sutherland’s have made great strides to ensure all members in the business are involved in the construction of a business plan and common goals are set to avoid unnecessary conflict. The family also continues to keep an open-mind towards new ideas – vital to their success and ability to thrive.
Through his involvement in the family business, Jeremy has learned the values of hard work, dedication and cooperation with others and has had many opportunities to experience different sectors within the farming industry.
“I’ve always enjoyed interacting with the animals and learning about their health,” says Jeremy, “each time the veterinarian came to work on the farm, I was always included in carrying out tasks and informed of various procedures.” It was those activities that inspired him to pursue a veterinary career.
In the fall, Jeremy will be attending Dalhousie’s Agricultural Campus to study animal science and aspires to become a veterinarian specializing in large animals. He hopes the knowledge and skills developed through his future education will provide advantages to the family business through the ability to be proactive and innovative with animal welfare and nutrition.
“My goal is to gain experience in the veterinary field and then return home to help transition the farm into a sixth-generation family business.”
Congratulations Jeremy Sutherland on receiving this year’s John Abbass Sr. memorial scholarship.