New Cattlemen’s Young Leaders, Sask. forage council has a new president

NewsMakers from the September 2021 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Mark McNinch and Tamara Carter.

Cattlemen’s Young Leaders

Sarah Jensen photo: Supplied

Sarah Jensen was raised on a commercial cow-calf and grain operation near Arborg, Man. At a young age, she enjoyed helping with chores and was also the youth board representative for the Arborg Agricultural Society. Jensen studied biological sciences at the University of Manitoba. In 2019, she received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Award and spent the summer helping with beef cattle research. She also worked part-time through her undergrad degree as part of a program through the Chief Veterinary Office of Manitoba. Jensen was recently accepted into the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, and plans to become a beef cattle veterinarian and pursue epidemiological research. Her mentors are brothers Bryan and Stuart Thiessen, who run Namaka Farms Inc. Namaka Farms includes feedlots and farms in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Scott Gerbrandt. photo: Supplied

Scott Gerbrandt was raised on a farm near Swift Current, Sask. He earned an agriculture and bioresource engineering degree (with great distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan in 2010 and has been working in research and design in the ag machine industry since. In 2015, Gerbrandt and his wife, Robyn, moved back to Swift Current to become more involved with his grandparents’ beef and hay operation. Gerbrandt has enjoyed learning about the cow-calf sector and working on increasing their herd. He is proud of some of the changes implemented on their operation including eliminating confined feeding in the cow herd through corn grazing, bale grazing and calving on pasture. He is also proud to have the opportunity to share daily chores on their VBP+ operation with four active generations. Gerbrandt’s mentor is Brent Difley, who worked for Elanco Animal Health for 35 years. Difley currently manages a 500-head cow-calf operation in Saskatchewan, and consults for Union Forage and T&E Ventures.

Mark McNinch (see photo at top), a rancher and forage specialist for Union Forage from Mervin, Sask., is the new president of the Saskatchewan Forage Council. Jeremy Brown, a custom grazier and Ducks Unlimited agrologist from North Battleford, is the vice-president. Newly appointed directors include Alan VanCaeseele from Brett Young Seeds, cattle producer and VBP+ co-ordinator Holly Sparrow, rancher and grain farmer Autumn Lynn, dairy producer Paul Kernaleguen, and forage producer and Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards executive director Kevin Steinley. They join directors Sarah Sommerfeld, David MacTaggart, Dr. Greg Penner, Brent Griffin, Dr. Bill Biligetu, Terry Kowalchuk and Dr. Jillian Bainard. Retiring from the board are directors Garnet Ferguson, Trevor Plews and past president Tamara Carter. The council also recognized the Meacham Hills Forage Club with its Forage Industry Innovation Award. 


Cor Van Raay. photo: Courtesy Colleen Mackey

Our condolences to the loved ones of Cor Van Raay, who passed away on July 29. Van Raay was born May 30, 1936 in Nijmegen, Holland. From a young age, he knew he wanted to be a farmer, and attended agricultural school in Holland. However, as there wasn’t enough land in Holland to fulfill his farming ambitions, he emigrated to Vancouver in 1959 and worked as a landscaper. He then moved to Alberta, where he began growing beets. Van Raay diversified into barley, potatoes and wheat, bought land and cattle and built large feedlots. He later expanded his farming operations into Saskatchewan. He received several honours during his life, including induction in the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal and Picture Butte’s Citizen of the Year Award. Along with his business acumen, he was known for his passion for fitness, love of pie, community building, kindness and his care for his family. In 1963, Van Raay married Christine, and together they ran their farm businesses and raised six children: Kenneth, Brenda, Sandra, Colleen, Michelle and Darren. Unfortunately, Christine passed away in 2005. He is survived by his children and grandchildren, as well as his much-loved companion of the last 10 years, Julie Perverseff.


The B.C. Cattlemen’s Association held its AGM earlier this year. Renee Ardill of Fort St. John is president, Brian Thomas of OK Falls vice-president and Larry Garret of Vanderhoof past president. Rounding out the board are Judy Madden and Cody Johnson (Peace River), Erin Durrell and Alex Kulchar (Central), Jon Solecki (Skeena), Cheryl Monical and Roger Patenaude (Cariboo), Ryan Scorgie and John Anderson (Thompson), Werner Stump and Brian Thomas (Okanagan), and Larry Rast (Kootenay). 


Congratulations to Chris Armes of William’s Lake, B.C., who was named Agrologist of the Year by the B.C. Institute of Agrologists. Armes studied agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of B.C. In 1991, he started working for the province of B.C., and over the years has worked with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Beef in B.C. magazine notes that he’s known as the “Range Godfather” and states that he “has a passion for principled, evidence-based resource management,” and is “widely known and respected, even by those with opposing views.” Armes has made extensive contributions to range legislation during his career, and is the “go-to” person for mapping. He also developed a district administrative database, called Haywire, used by all districts. Most recently, he’s been working with ranchers and First Nations through the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw Incremental Treaty Agreement.

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