Joel Peru is apparently going places in his chosen field of agrology.
The Outlook man, an irrigation agrologist for the province since the spring of 2014, can routinely be seen in the public eye promoting irrigation and its many possibilities, notably during the Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre’s annual trade show and field days, held every summer at the facility in Outlook.
Peru’s passion for his work has not gone unnoticed, as he was recently the recipient of the Outstanding Young Agrologist Award courtesty of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists (SIA). The institute regulates the profession of agrology in the province by ensuring its safe, competent, and ethical practice, and there are close to 1900 registered agrologists in Saskatchewan.
As part of his work, Joel develops and implements research as well as demonstration projects in order to enhance returns from existing irrigation in the province, and also takes part in extension activities to ensure that the results of those projects can reach producers and agronomists in the industry.
The SIA provided a backgrounder on why Peru was selected for the prestigious award:
“Joel developed a passion for agriculture growing up working at his grandparent’s farm in South West Saskatchewan. After completing his Bachelor of Science in Agronomy, he accepted the role as an Irrigation Agrologist with the SK Ministry of Agriculture. In this role, Joel works with irrigators and develops a research and demonstration program to help increase returns from irrigated acres. In 2019, Joel and his colleague Kaeley Kindrachuk TechAg, received the Premier’s Award of Excellence in the Public Service for their innovative approach to crop extension using Crop Walks. These virtual field days have changed the way the Ministry of Agriculture conducts crop extension and continues to gain momentum.
As a volunteer, Joel helps plan major events such as the annual Soils & Crops Workshop and Crop Diagnostic School and is an active member of his community’s fire department.”
Though the award is an impressive one, it’s also not the only honour Peru has received in the last year or so. At the end of 2019, he was one of the recipients of the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Public Service as part of a team-centered project called ‘Crop Walks’ with co-lead Kaeley Kindrachuk, a fellow award recipient.
From a government media release:
“Crop Walks Team – Ministry of Agriculture
Crop Walks evolved into a series of live videos delivered exclusively through the Ministry of Agriculture’s Facebook page. The live videos take place in the field and feature interviews with the Ministry of Agriculture Crops Specialists and industry colleagues. Crop Walks are a great example of taking an innovative approach to extension delivery. Producers today are busier than ever and finding a way to connect with a broader client base on their time and terms is no small task. The team brought together the use of social media tools, specialists’ knowledge and research and created an effective model to build from. They developed and hosted 32 live videos that resulted in an impressive 18,174 views, a first within all of government. Producer feedback indicates a great appreciation for the practical, real-time presentations. This team truly lives the ministry values in their everyday work, taking a very professional approach to their work and are always focused on doing their best.”
Reacting to his most recent award win for being an outstanding person in his chosen field, Peru credits the team he works with and says he’s looking forward to what may come in this area as it relates to the major irrigation project centered on Lake Diefenbaker that was announced last summer.
“I was honored to receive the Outstanding Young Agrologist Award in 2020 from the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists,” said Joel, in an email to this reporter. “It’s a great feeling to be recognized for the services I provide to my clients. Working with the talented staff at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Outlook office has allowed me to be successful in my career and they are an amazing team to be a part of. As an Agrologist and someone with family roots in farming, seeing my work contribute to local producer’s success is truly a humbling feeling. With the recent irrigation expansion announcement, I feel privileged to have a part to play and look forward to providing support to new and existing irrigators.”