The Saskatchewan Livestock Association presented Honour Scrolls to three families that have made an outstanding contribution to the livestock industry during the provincial beef industry conference in late January.
The Honour Roll dates back to 1927 and the three new recipients are the late Dale Blair and Janet Blair of Drake; Garner and Lori Deobald of Hodgeville and Brian and Glenys Weedon of Swift Current.
Dale and Janet returned to the family Blair Farms in 1964 where Dale partnered with his father Sandy and brother Ron. Sandy had also established Blair’s Fertilizer Company in 1948. Dale imported some of the first Simmental cattle to Canada and was a founding member of the Saskatchewan Simmental Association, a director of the Canadian Simmental Association and Barn Boss for the Simmental breed at Agribition for several years. He also served on the board of Pound-Maker Agventures Ltd. for 27 years and the provincial agricultural review board.
Blair Farms was named Commercial Angus Producer of the Year Award in 2000 before Dale and Ron sold the business to their sons and dissolved Blair Farms. Blair’s West Land and Cattle was formed in 2008 by son Scott and daughter-in-law Calla.
Dale also served on the Drake and district recreation board and was awarded the Drake Citizen of the Year Trophy in 1985. Janet received the same award in 2005 for her work with senior meals and the recreation board.
Dale died in October 2014.
Garner and Lori Deobald (photo at top) have spent their entire married life on his grandfather’s farm in Hodgeville, and their Cedarlea Farms has been involved with Charolais cattle since they bought her parent’s purebred herd. Lori was trained as a veterinary technician and still works one day a week at the local clinic.
Garner has served as president of the Saskatchewan and Canadian Charolais associations and Charolais International. He currently sits on the Canadian Beef Breeds Council and is in his second term as chairman.
At one point he formed Hawkeye Land and Livestock Ltd., and brokered sales of Charolais cattle to Kazakhstan. For three years he served as national fieldman for the Canadian Charolais Association and in 2007 began working for Boehringer Ingelheim and is currently territory manager for southern Saskatchewan. In between times he has judged cattle at most of the major shows across Canada and conducted cattle selection workshops in Canada and Estonia. Last June he was appointed executive vice-director of the China-Canada Beef Industry Council, a partnership of the Beef Cattle Research Council, China Agriculture University and the Canadian Beef Breeds Council.
Lori, with her daughter and son-in-law, looks after most of the day-to-day work at Cedarlea Farms.
Brian Weedon turned to the beef business after he moved home to Cabri to farm with his adopted father. He purchased some local farmland with pasture and bought eight cows. He also credits the time he spent working for cattle feeder Tom Myers and rancher John O’Connell for cementing his love of cattle and ranching, and in 1974 he purchased the O’Connell ranch.
Glenys graduated as a teacher in 1977 and taught school for many years before becoming a partner on the ranch with Brian. Weedon Ranch was one of the first to be verified under the Quality Starts Here program in 2004 and the family received the National Environmental Stewardship Award in 2011.
Brian served the industry on many fronts, as president of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers’ Association, director of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and vice-chair of the Foundation of Animal Care. He also co-chaired the board of the Verified Beef Program and still sits on the board. He also served as chairman of the Saskatchewan Beef Industry committee and was on the board of the Saskatchewan Surface Rights Arbitration Board, the Action Committee on Rural Economy, Prairie Conservation Action Plan, the New Grazing and Technology program, the Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame and the VIDO Beef Tech committee.
Both Brian and Glenys hosted many school and 4-H groups and visitors from as far away as Germany and Inner Mongolia on educational tours focused on range management, ecology and the western way of life.