Cattlemen’s Young Leaders and Environmental Stewardship Award winners

NewsMakers from the August 2020 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Cattlemen’s Young Leaders

Dr. Lacey Tillotson.
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Growing up on a cow-calf operation near Innisfree, Alta., Dr. Lacey Tillotson’s love for animals inspired her to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. She studied animal science at the University of Alberta, and completed a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 2012 from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduating, she’s worked at the Viking Veterinary Clinic, where she focuses on bovine practice. In 2016, Tillotson and her husband, Tim, took over the family ranch, Tillotson Land and Cattle. They are passionate about using sustainable grazing principles and maintaining high standards of animal health. Tillotson’s mentor is Dr. Troy Drake, veterinarian and developer of Herdtrax software.

Patricia Fawley.
photo: Supplied

It was working on cattle operations in Northern Australia that sparked Patricia Fawley’s passion for agriculture. While there, Fawley learned how to feed, brand, check water tanks, castrate and dehorn cattle. When she returned to Canada, she enrolled in the University of Manitoba, where she learned more about the science of raising cattle in Canada. Courses in biology, animal reproduction and beef cattle management gave her the knowledge she needed in her current position, which involves bovine embryo collection, transfer, IVF and semen collection. Fawley’s mentor is Blake McMillan, lead for purebred operations at Blair’s Ag in Nokomis, Sask.


Environmental Stewardship Award winners

Charlton Angus Cattle Company, owned and operated by Paul De Jong, is the Ontario recipient of the Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA). De Jong runs a 150-head cow-calf operation over six quarters in northern Ontario. Some of De Jong’s stewardship practices include fencing off wetlands and streams, regular soil testing and variable rate nutrient application, alternative tillage to limit soil erosion and rotational grazing.

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Manitoba’s recipient is Hagan Valley Ranch, owned and operated by Thomas and Felicity Hagan at Virden. The Hagans raise cattle on 3,200 acres of native grass. Their cow herd runs between 100 and 150 cows and they also run up to 300 yearlings, plus custom grazers, depending on conditions. Some stewardship practices include creating grazing paddocks based on grass and soil types, and working with Manitoba Habitat.

In B.C., the Seelhof family of Woodjam Ranch received the Ranch Sustainability Award. Ricky, Chad, Cooper, Renee, Riata, Ellie and Louis Seelhof ranch in the Horsefly area. They use gravity-fed water systems for off-stream watering, permanent fencing along waterways, electric fencing to control weeds through grazing and prevent wildlife entanglement, and have restored banks, culverts and bridges to protect water ecosystems.


Pat Tonn.
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Ag in the Classroom Canada’s board of directors has elected Pat Tonn of B.C. as chair. Tonn succeeds Laurie Loane of Agriculture in the Classroom Prince Edward Island, who stepped down after a two-year term. Tonn is also the executive director of B.C. Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, a position she has held since 2015.

Congratulations to Dr. Katie Wood, assistant professor in ruminant nutrition and physiology at the University of Guelph, who has received the Young Scientist Award from Masterfeeds. Wood’s research focuses on feed efficiency in feedlot and cow-calf operations, and includes approaches ranging from novel feed strategies and additives to improving gut health. The Young Scientist Award is sponsored by Masterfeeds employees, in memory of Shane Carson, the company’s former director of nutrition.

After 40 years in the beef industry, Rich Smith has retired. Smith most recently served as the executive director of the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP). Smith joined the ABP in 2005 as the environmental manager. Brad Dubeau, formerly the marketing and education manager for ABP, is stepping into the general manager position. Dubeau, who grew up on a commercial Hereford operation west of Medicine Hat, Alta., has been with ABP since 2016.


Kerryann Kocher.
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Kerryann Kocher has been named CEO of Vytelle, which recently merged with GrowSafe Systems. Kocher, a graduate of Iowa State University, grew up on a grain and livestock farm in Iowa and showed Simmental cattle with her family. She has decades of experience in animal health, feed ingredients and protein production. She previously worked for Elanco Animal Health, Bayer Animal Health and founded Rock Road Consulting, a business consulting practice.

McDonald’s Canada CEO John Betts retired this summer. During Betts’s time at the helm, McDonald’s Canada launched the McCafé brand, introduced all-day breakfast and became a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Betts began working for McDonald’s as a crew member in Southampton, New York, 50 years ago. He was appointed CEO of McDonald’s Canada in 2008. Jacques Mignault stepped into the CEO position on August 1. Mignault worked as managing director of McDonald’s Switzerland for the last three years.


Congratulations to Dr. Les Haliday on being named Beef Industry Builder by Atlantic Beef Products Inc. Haliday is provincial beef specialist for P.E.I., and plays a crucial role in the Certified Island beef brand, Holstein steer project and Easter Beef. He also provides nutrition and genetic advice to producers.

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