1985 – First competition held at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in honour of International Youth Year. Prize to the winner at that time was to spend a day with the Ontario Minister of Agriculture and Food.
1987 – Farm Credit Corporation (now known as Farm Credit Canada) assumed the role of sponsoring and managing the competition, and cash prizes were introduced.
1996 – The Leonard Wilhelm trophy was added to the prize list. Joanne Wilhelm had been the competition winner in 1988, and her sister had also participated in the program. The family was very supportive of their children’s efforts and wanted to make a contribution to our competition. Up until that time, there was no perpetual trophy or recognition given identifying past winners. The award is on display today, and will remain on-site at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in their display cases.
1997 – Many ‘firsts’ for the competition this year. This was the first year with newly unveiled name, Young Speakers for Agriculture; the first year with truly ‘national’ focus; the first year in the newly-renovated facilities at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair; and the first year for a new sponsor to the Young Speakers for Agriculture team, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada. Finally, the competition became bilingual, permitting participants to speak in either of Canada’s official languages.
1998 – A new logo for Young Speakers for Agriculture was developed.
2000 – The Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation joined the sponsorship team, and provided a financial grant to the committee. The competition enjoyed a record number of nine out-of-province participants registered (four from Alberta, first competitor from Manitoba, two from Nova Scotia, one each from New Brunswick and PEI). Each province was guaranteed three participant spots in the competition, and in this year two provinces filled their quota (Ontario and Alberta).
2001 – The Eastern Canada Farm Writers’ Association joined the sponsorship team. Out-of-province participation continued to be strong, with nine registered (three from Alberta; three from Manitoba; and one each from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia). Each province was guaranteed three participant spots in the competition, and in this year three provinces filled their quota (Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario).
2002 – Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited joined the sponsorship team. Out-of-province participation continued to be strong, with ten registered (three from Alberta; two from Nova Scotia; and one each from British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec). This marked the first year that British Columbia sent a participant. Each province was guaranteed three participant spots in the competition, and in this year two provinces filled their quota (Alberta and Ontario).
2003 – 4-H Ontario became a supporter of Young Speakers for Agriculture. A new logo was developed, and our first website was launched.
2004 – Many new initiatives were undertaken as the competition commemorated its 20th consecutive public speaking competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The organizing committee undertook incorporation, and officially changed the name of the competition to Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture to better reflect the national scope of the competition. Out-of-province participation continued to be strong and with 15 out-of-province registrants, this was an all-time record high for the competition (three each from Alberta and Saskatchewan; two from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba; and one each from British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec). This marked the first year that Saskatchewan sent participants to the competition. Each province was guaranteed three participant spots in the competition, and in this year three provinces filled their quota (Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario).
2006 – A Junior Competition for 11 to 15 year olds was introduced to complement the long running Senior level event, which is open to youth up to 24 years of age. As expected, being the first year, the number of Junior competitors was low, but the introduction of the event for younger youth was very well received, and the program will undoubtedly grow as the word spreads.
2007 – May 2007 saw the introduction of CYSA’s new bilingual and independent website at www.cysa-joca.ca, featuring online registration.
2009 – CYSA celebrates 25 years of organizing and facilitating the “Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture” competition. Since the first competition was held at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in honour of International Youth Year in 1985, the competition has incorporated a fully bilingual and national focus, and has seen continued year-over-year development and growth. Currently with both a junior and senior competition, and with new support from an academic perspective, CYSA is poised for continued success as a premier youth public speaking competition, and as a leader in Canadian agricultural communications.
2010 – March 2010, Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture, Inc. entered into a new funding agreement under the Growing Forward Program with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in cooperation with the 4-H Council of Canada. The agreement provided a four year commitment for the CYSA Inc. competition to support youth communications in agriculture. CYSA Inc. is grateful for the tremendous support received from the Government of Canada and 4-H Canada, and will continue to use these resources to support youth in agriculture across the country
2014 – CYSA Inc. celebrated its 30th anniversary of the competition.