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All Smiles in Agriculture: A Once-in-a-lifetime Experience —on Threepeat 

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A passionate rancher from Alberta, Canada, Paytten grew up on a working ranch. She was eager to expand her knowledge of the ag industry and see how others approach the profession. She attended Lakeland College in Vermillion, Alberta and received a Diploma in Animal Science Tech. She then used that to transfer to the University of Alberta(UofA) where she worked toward a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Majoring in Animal Science. While she was at UofA she sat in on an information session on working abroad. That’s when she found the International Rural Exchange Canada(IREC) Outbound Program. 

Paytten’s first stop with the program was in the US, where she spent four months in a small town in eastern Washington learning about cow/calf operations and the production of export hay. She was able to contribute to the farm by assisting with pregnancy checks, vaccinations, and the moving and sorting of cattle. Her host family welcomed her with open arms, taking her on adventures to the Oregon coast and skiing in Idaho. 

From there, Paytten went on to Ireland where she worked at a riding school for two months and assisted instructors and helped prepare the horses for lessons. During her stay, she also helped with therapeutic horse therapy sessions for special needs participants. Her host family was the typical loud Irish family, who treated her like one of their own and showed her all the wonders of Irish culture. 

Lastly, Paytten travelled to Sweden where she spent the summer months working at a dressage barn and tending to horses. She even stayed on site in a lodging right in the arena and woke up each day ready to tackle new challenges. During her time abroad, Paytten also had a break to visit relatives in Norway and connect with her roots. 

Through the IRE Outbound Program, Paytten was able to expand her knowledge of the ag industry and bring new skills and insights back to her family’s 120-year-old ranch. For example, after seeing the benefits of ultrasound for pregnancy testing, she suggested implementing the practice on their farm. Paytten also gained greater confidence in operating equipment and learning all aspects of the business, even those traditionally seen as “not for women.” 

As an adventurous and curious individual, Paytten’s experience with the IRE Outbound Program was invaluable. She made connections with like-minded individuals, learned new practices, and had once-in-a-lifetime experiences that she will carry with her always. So whether you’re a rancher, farmer or just someone with an adventurous spirit, the IRE Outbound Program may be just what you need to broaden your horizons and learn new skills.  

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