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Bovine calving simulator makes its debut at Agribition

NewsMakers from the January 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

"Agnes" simulating the birth of a calf at Agribition.
Charlie Christie. photo: Supplied

There has been a wholesale change in the executive of the Alberta Beef Producers with the election of Charlie Christie as chair, succeeding Bob Lowe of Nanton, who remains on the board as past chair for the next year, Kelly Fraser as vice-chair and Melanie Wowk as finance chair.

Christie, whose family operates a cow-calf, backgrounding and finishing operation at Trochu has spent four years on the board of directors, one year as finance chair.

Kelly Fraser. photo: Supplied

Fraser and her family own and operate NuHaven Cattle Co. in Red Deer County where they raise purebred Maine-Anjou. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas Tech University.

Melanie Wowk. photo: Supplied

Wowk and her family run a 275-head commercial cow-calf operation near Beauvallon. She is also a veterinarian. This is her second term as a delegate with the ABP. In her first term she also served on the board of Beef Cattle Research Council.

Carman and Ian Murray. photo: Supplied

Ian and Carman Murray of Shoestring Ranch near Acme were named the 2018 recipients of Alberta’s Environmental Stewardship Award during the annual meeting of the Alberta Beef Producers last month. They operate a cow-calf and cropping operation that runs 180 pairs and retains calves for a natural beef program.

A fifth-generation rancher, Ian says the shifting of their environmental focus began through an emphasis on improving the soil through pasture management. Dugouts are fenced off with several solar powered watering systems to provide better-quality water for the cattle and support healthy riparian areas. Shelterbelts are maintained to protect from wind erosion and provide wildlife habitat.

Ian has also served as a director with the Foothills Forage and Grazing Association and the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta and was an early adopter of the Verified Beef Production program and Environmental Farm Plan. A video of the operation is available on Vimeo.

Belinda Wagner. photo: Supplied

Belinda Wagner of Eden­wold, Sask., is the recipient of the inaugural Cel­ebrating Women in Agriculture award created by Canadian Western Agribition and BMO to recognize Canadian women for outstanding contributions to agriculture. Wagner, who has been a builder and mentor for more than 25 years with the Saskatchewan Livestock Association, Saskatchewan Angus Association, Saskatchewan and Canadian Junior Angus Associations, and Canadian Angus Foundation, views her career more as a lifestyle where colleagues and clients become friends topped off with the rewards of working with and mentoring upcoming generations.

Agnes, a bovine calving simulator manufactured by Veterinary Simulator Industries of Calgary (see photo at top), made an impressive debut in Saskatchewan at Canadian Western Agribition where hourly calving demonstrations by Western College of Veterinary Medicine veterinarians and technicians, assisted by primary-grade students from the audience, piqued the interest of people of all ages visiting the Family Ag Pavilion. The life-sized cow with its 50-pound silicone-rubber calf was recently purchased by Agribition and the college as an interactive demonstration to tie agriculture with education. Between times, the pair will be housed in the college’s new simulation unit where veterinary students gain confidence before assisting with calvings on live animals.

The 2017 recipients of the $2,500 Canadian Western Agribition Scholarships for students involved with Agribition are Evan Sebastian of Montmartre, Sask., Sadie Anwender of Radville, Sask., and Grayson Berting of Middle Lake, Sask. The Barry Andrew Family Scholarship and the William M. Farley Memorial Scholarship of $1,500 each toward post-secondary studies in agriculture were awarded to Shelby Evans of Kenaston, Sask., and Macy Leibreich, Radville, Sask., respectively.

Jean Szkotnicki. photo: Supplied

Jean Szkotnicki and Patty Jones were inducted into the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame at an awards banquet last month in Calgary. Szkotnicki has served the livestock industry for the past 25 years as president of the Canadian Animal Health Institute. She’s also served on the board of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity and the Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph.

Patty Jones. photo: Supplied

Jones is the owner-operator of the largest livestock photography business in Canada, Canadian Livestock Photography Inc. Over the past 44 years she has taken 65,000 images used to market the top dairy breeding animals in Canada and around the world.

Chris Lane. photo: Supplied

Canadian Western Agribition CEO Chris Lane reports total livestock sales at the 2017 show in late November reached $3.5 million, a number unequalled since 1997 and the second highest in the history of the event. Purebred cattle sales supplied $2 million of the total, and that’s a record. The 2017 show attracted 1,250 international guests, including 365 foreign buyers from 86 countries, another record.

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