BCRC announces Beef Research Mentorship Program participants

NewsMakers from the September 28, 2020 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Congratulations to Mike Raine, who was recently appointed editor at the Western Producer. Raine has been with the Western Producer for 28 years, most recently as managing editor. Over the course of his journalism career, Raine has remained active on the farm as well. Raine takes the reins from the Producer’s previous editor, Brian MacLeod.

The Beef Cattle Research Council recently announced the participants of its Beef Research Mentorship Program. The program pairs Canadian researchers with beef industry leaders and provides a travel budget to be used over 18 months.

Dr. Alexander Koiter. photo: Supplied

Dr. Alexander Koiter is an assistant professor of geography and environment at Brandon University. Koiter’s current research focuses on better understanding soil erosion and sediment transport in agricultural watersheds. His work aims to help design effective sediment management plans that target the most problematic areas. His mentors include Kristine Tapley, cow-calf producer and regional agrologist with Ducks Unlimited Canada, plus Larry Wegner, a grass farmer who runs his own cow herd along with custom cattle.


Dr. Christine Liu. photo: Supplied

Dr. Christine Liu’s PhD research focused on how sodium reduction affects growth and gene expression of Listeria monocytogenes in meat products and using clean-label antimicrobials to enhance meat safety. Liu also completed post-doctoral training, focusing on how dietary bioactives from brassica vegetables affect rodent and human gut microbiomes, as well as natural feed additives on the poultry gut microbiome. Her mentors include Dennis Laycraft, executive vice-president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and Michael Young, president of Canada Beef.


Dr. Johnathan Bennett. photo: Supplied

Dr. Jonathan Bennett is an assistant professor of plant ecology at the University of Saskatchewan. His PhD work at the University of Alberta focused on factors regulating plant communities in fescue grassland. Bennett’s current research is focused on manipulating the rhizosphere microbiome to improve management of native prairie and tame forage stands. His mentors include Sask­atchewan ranchers Lynn and Sherri Grant and Ryan Beierbach, who also ranches in Saskatchewan.


Dr. Marcos Cordeiro. photo: Supplied

Dr. Marcos Cordeiro is an assistant professor in sustainable food systems modelling at the University of Manitoba. Cordeiro’s research includes nutrient migration from feedlots, nutrient export from farmland, the nitrogen budget of the dairy industry, hydrological processes in agricultural watersheds, agronomic production under climate change and the water footprint assessment of the Canadian beef industry. His mentors include market analyst and rancher Anne Wasko as well as Brett McCrae, who runs a mixed operation in Manitoba.


Dr. Monika Gorzelak. photo: Supplied

Dr. Monika Gorzelak leads a research team at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge examining the role of microbiomes in improving soil health, soil carbon sequestration and nutrient dynamics. She examines mycorrhizal networks, rhizosphere dynamics and soil amendments. Gorzelak believes the key to soil health and mitigating climate change is understanding the soil microbiome. Her mentors are Rylee and Lyle Hewitt, who ranch in Alberta’s Porcupine Hills, and Andy Hart, who ranches at Claresholm, Alta.


Dr. Trevor Coates. photo: Supplied

Dr. Trevor Coates recently joined Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Research and Development Centre in Lethbridge. His research focuses on better understanding the complexities of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and on exploring new methodologies for quantifying mitigation efforts. Coates’ mentors are Rich Smith, an ag engineer and recently retired executive director of the Alberta Beef Producers, and Kendra Donnelly, who is a partner in Korova Feeders near Acme, Alta.

Our belated condolences to the loved ones of Rick Jensen and his son, Kevin, of Webb, Sask. Rick and his wife, Yvonne, were married in 1974, at which time they moved to the family farm near Webb. Rick was a delegate, then a director, with the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and secretary-manager for the South West Saskatchewan Forage Co-operative Association. In 2012, he became a representative for the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), and was elected to the board in 2016. Among his many community commitments, he was a 4-H leader for the beef club. Rick and Yvonne were married for 40 years before she passed away. They raised three sons: Bradley, Mark and Kevin.

Kevin was described as “one of the best, sweetest and most caring humans.” Born in 1984 with a condition called Fragile X Syndrome, he went to school in Gull Lake, and worked at the Swift Current Sask Abilities Centre and the city’s recycling depot. Kevin was a country music fan, and Carrie Underwood and Shania Twain were his “favourite country women.” After shaking Shania Twain’s hand at a concert in Las Vegas, he insisted on sending flowers to thank her. In May 2019, Kevin returned to the farm to help his father with farming operations.

Tragically, both Kevin and Rick died in a farmhouse fire in March. People wishing to remember Kevin can donate to Southwest Homes. Donations in Rick’s memory can be forwarded to STARS air ambulance.

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