Producer passings, and Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation Award recipients

NewsMakers from the December 2020 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Ernie Esau. photo: Supplied

Canadian Cattlemen is sad to announce that Ernie Esau of Elm Creek, Man., passed away on October 26. Esau was an influential seedstock producer who began breeding Shorthorns in 1951. Esau set out to improve the breed, developing animals with larger frames and more muscling than other Shorthorns of that era. In 1955, he married Irma, and two years later they purchased their own farm, Ernmore Farms. Ultimately the American Shorthorn Association presented him with the Builder of the Breed award. Esau then focused on the Charolais breed, building a polled Charolais cow herd from North American stock and crossing them with full French Charolais bulls, with tremendous results. He sold semen from his championship bulls and embryos from championship cows around the world. Esau was predeceased by Irma and daughter Marilyn. He is missed by his five children, 21 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, as well as his brother and sisters. For more on Ernie Esau, see this article from the December 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen.

Richard Kanewaga. photo: Supplied

Our condolences to the family and friends of long-time farmer, rancher, and entrepreneur Richard Kanegawa of Calgary. Kanegawa, died of a recurring lung condition on October 8 at age 90. Interned with his family at Lethbridge from New Westminster, B.C., during the Second World War, he and his brother Stan began potato farming in the region. They diversified into sugar beets and wheat. In the 1960s, Kanegawa and several Vauxhall-area cattlemen imported a Simmental bull from Switzerland. They paid an astounding $100,000. Kanegawa also dabbled in the Maine-Anjou and Limousin breeds. Kanegawa may have been best known for his Heritage Inn hotels, first built in 1974 in Taber, which hosted many producer meetings. He travelled worldwide to seek the views from the world’s tallest buildings, and to taste the best seafood anywhere, “but knowing nothing could beat Alberta beef and potatoes,” stated daughter Shelley. Kanegawa’s wife Suyeko (Sue) survives him, along with three daughters, Sandra, Shelley and Susan, and their families.

Geaorge Schoepp. photo: Supplied

We regret to announce the passing of George Schoepp on September 9. Schoepp was a feedlot owner who served on the Alberta Cattle Commission (now Alberta Beef Producers) for 12 years, including two years as the chair. Schoepp was also an executive member of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. During this time, he served as chair of the Beef Grading Committee and helped usher in the new beef grading system in Canada. Schoepp worked closely with government in his service to an Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development task force, the Creating Tomorrow process, Alberta Agriculture Products Marketing Council, the Appeal Tribunal of the Alberta Agriculture Products Marketing Council, the Appeals Board for Special Programs (Crow Benefit) and the Alberta Regulatory Review Committee. Schoepp received numerous awards including four Dairy Herd Improvement Awards of Excellence, the 1994 Farm Family Award, the Premier’s Award of Excellence and the Rotary Award of Integrity. He is missed by his wife Hilda of 62 years, four children, 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Mark Lyseng is the new lead on government relations and policy at the Alberta Beef Producers. He was raised on a cattle operation at Armena, Alta., where he and his brother continue to raise cattle. He previously worked with the provincial government as a public land specialist. Lyseng will work with colleagues and stakeholders to assess how competiveness issues may affect Alberta’s cattle industry.

Jourdyn Sammons. photo: Supplied

Congratulations to Jourdyn Sammons and Celine DeWit, inaugural recipients of the Friends of the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation Award. The award, valued at $1,000, was kick-started by the late Dr. Bob Church to support ag students entering their second year or later of a Canadian ag or ag-related post-secondary program.

Jourdyn Sammons was raised on a mixed operation near Gleichen, Alta. She’s currently completing a bachelor of science in agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in animal science and minoring in range resources. After finishing her undergrad, she plans to complete a graduate degree in range science, then enter vet school. Sammons is a member of the U of S Range Team, the Stockman’s Club, and is the range team’s liaison for the Prairie Parkland chapter for the Society of Range Management.


Celine Dewit. photo: Supplied

Celine DeWit grew up on a dairy farm at Lacombe, Alta. At age 19, she worked on a beef and dairy farm in New Zealand. She returned home and enrolled as an ag undergrad at the University of Alberta. Now in her third year, she has also been accepted into the University of Calgary’s veterinary college. DeWit is president of the Production Animal Health Club, and is involved in many sports.

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