Jacob Marfo (PhD, PAg)
Manager/Research Coordinator
Manager, Jacob MarfoMy name is Jacob Marfo. I am the MARA’s Manager & Research Coordinator. I got my undergraduate degree in Agriculture Technology (Renewable Natural Resources major) from the University for Development Studies, Ghana. I briefly studied Adaptive Natural Resource Management at the International Agriculture Centre-Wageningen University in the Netherlands. I immigrated to Canada to pursue a Master of Science degree at the Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario). I worked on the effects of climate change on the boreal forest for my Master’s dissertation. I worked with the University as a Research Assistant-Silviculture and Plant Physiology lab, Faculty of Forestry & Forest Environments. Under the supervision of Professor Qinglai Dang, I obtained my doctoral degree in Forest Sciences, working on the interaction between soil nutrients, soil temperature and moisture on physiology, biomass and growth of boreal species.
Following my doctorate, I returned to Ghana to work briefly with the University for Development Studies Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources, and a US based organization. I have been with MARA since August 2013. In addition to my managerial responsibilities, I lead MARA’s crop and environmental research programs. I enjoy photography, gardening, web design and blogs on Canadian immigration issues. I am a Professional Agrologist with the Alberta Institute of Agrologists and a Volunteer Fire Fighter with the Fort Vermilion Fire & Rescue. Working in Fort Vermilion is priceless as I am able to watch and photograph the beautiful northern lights, sunrise and sunset on regular basis as well as the variant Fall colours.
 Direct Contact
Jacob Marfo
Email: //
Cell Phone: 780-285-0988

Sabrina Westra

Assistant Manager & Forage Specialist

Mackenzie Applied Research Association

My name is Sabrina Westra. I was born in Calgary, Alberta, but grew up in several cities across Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. I moved to Fort Vermilion in 2015, from Guelph, Ontario to join MARA. I studied in Guelph for my Master’s degree in Plant Agriculture. For my thesis, I examined the causes of spatial variability in red clover stands under seeded to winter wheat. I have an undergraduate science degree from the University of Alberta.
Before my graduate studies I worked with the Fish and Wildlife Department (Government of Alberta), the Alberta Emerald Foundation, and the Grey Wooded Forage Association (another member of ARECA). At MARA, I lead the Forage program and the lead on MARA’s Extension programming. I am interested in practices that improve soil health and fertility, particularly in the Mackenzie County. I enjoy cross country skiing, canoeing and photography. I speak English, French and Spanish.
Direct Contact
Sabrina Westra
Email: //
Cell Phone: 780-285-0911

Frank Fehr

Senior Research Technician

was born and raised on a farm in Northern British Columbia. I moved to Fort Vermilion, ALberta in 2013. I have been farming most of my life and enjoy it. I enjoy the outdoors and working in the fields. I really love experimenting with new and different ideas aimed at improving farming. In addition to my work as work as MARA’s Senior Research Technician, I am an active Volunteer Firefighter. At MARA, I am responsible for equipment repair and maintenance and I am the go to guy on almost everything that requires mechanical assessment.




Nicole Driedger

Summer Research Technician

Hi, my name is Nicole Driedger. I applied for the summer position at MARA to gain more experience regarding crops and agriculture technology. I enjoy the farm life and missed it while studying Music at Red Deer College. I am taking EMR courss this Fall and continue with EMT program. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, songwriting, traveling and snowboarding. My position at MARA is supported by the Federal Government through the Canada Summer Jobs program.


Sylvia Boese
Summer Research Technician

My name is Sylvia Boese. I grew up on a farm just outside of Fort Vermilion. In the fast few years, I have been working on my family grain farm and doing my best to learn more about the farming profession. Working at MARA this summer as a Research Technician is an incredible opportunity to expand my knowledge about the farming industry. I will start post-secondary education this Fall, when my placement with MARA is done. My position at MARA is partially funded by the Alberta Government through STEP.