Cattle community members inducted into Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame

Newsmakers from the November 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Three well-known members of the cattle community were inducted into the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame last month. They are:

Cor Van Raay
Cor Van Raay

Cor Van Raay of Iron Springs helped mould Alberta’s modern feedlot sector. Starting with just 50 head of cattle, his business grew to be one of the largest feedlot operations in Canada. He also helped launch several successful agribusinesses, including Butte Grain Merchants Ltd., Western Tractor, Van Raay Land Inc., and Sungold Specialty Meats Ltd. — one of Canada’s largest producers of lamb. In 2014 he presented a major financial gift to the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College to launch the Cor Van Raay Southern Alberta Agribusiness Program to give young people the tools to be successful in the modern agriculture industry, and ensure agriculture remains a significant driver in Alberta’s economy.

Bob Prestage
Bob Prestage

Bob Prestage of Camrose has dedicated more than 50 years of his life to the development and marketing of breeding beef cattle and genetic programs in Alberta and across Canada. Early in his career, he developed the progeny test program for beef cattle, significantly improving the genetic pool of the Canadian cattle industry. After founding Wicklow Angus in Camrose, he worked on raising the profile of Angus cattle in Canada and internationally. During his career he selected, and exported thousands of cattle to more than 20 countries, including marketing the first cattle to Russia to support the Alberta cattle industry’s recovery from BSE. He has hosted numerous international delegations, and judged at international cattle shows. A former reeve of Camrose County, Prestage has received numerous industry and community awards including induction into the Alberta Angus Association Hall of Fame as a Breed Builder.

Dr. John Kennelly
Dr. John Kennelly

Dr. John Kennelly of Edmonton has served the dairy industry as both a researcher, professor and as chair of the University of Alberta’s department of agricultural, food and nutritional science and later dean of the faculty of agricultural, life & environmental sciences (ALES). During his research career he discovered, documented and translated into practice breakthroughs in dairy nutrition and feeding systems that resulted in major productivity gains. He also founded the Western Canadian Dairy Seminar, doubled the size of the Dairy Research Technology Centre, and led the establishment of the Agri-Food Discovery Place.

Bill Freding
Bill Freding

We were saddened to hear of the peaceful passing of B.C. feedlot operator Bill Freding in his sleep on October 18 at the age of 73. As a sign of respect the B.C. Livestock Producers Co-operative postponed its special Kamloops calf sale on October 29, the day a service celebrating Bill’s life was being held at his Southern Plus Feedlots in Oliver. Born on a purebred Hereford ranch in Princeton Freding received a bachelor of science degree and master of agriculture economics from the University of British Columbia before he started ranching in Chilcotin region. He and wife Darlene moved to Oliver in 1988 to start up their feedlot business. Southern Plus Feedlots eventually became the largest cattle-feeding operation in the province. In time they also established a commercial winery and a branded line of Okanagan’s Finest Angus Beef. Bill was a past president of the B.C. Association of Cattle Feeders and director of the National Cattle Feeder’s Association.

AltaLink, Alberta’s largest regulated electricity transmission company, has donated $655,000 to Edmonton’s University of Alberta to establish a scholarship endowment named the AltaLink Masters Scholarship in Rangeland Disturbance Ecology. The scholarships will allow graduate students with the university’s Rangeland Research Institute to study how rangeland ecosystems function to help land managers and others better manage and safeguard the rangelands that cover 43 per cent of Alberta’s agricultural land base.

Agricultural consultant Douglas Yungblut will compare the economics of beef cow grazing versus cash cropping in southern Ontario during the Canadian Forage & Grassland Association’s annual conference at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, November 15 to 17. For more details see

Northlands reached an agreement with the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association last month to host the annual Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) in Edmonton for two more years. There was some concern that the 43rd annual CFR would be the last in Edmonton. CFR and Farmfair International combined generate $50 million in economic activity for the City of Edmonton.

Dave Brand, owner of Apex Land & Livestock, was elected to the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association board of directors at the CASA’s 22nd annual farm safety conference and AGM held in Charlottetown, P.E.I. last month. Wendy Bennett, executive director of AgSafe remains as chair and Jeff Shaw, SAFE Farm co-ordinator, SAFE Work Manitoba has been named vice-chair. CASA is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health and safety of farmers, their families and agricultural workers. For more visit

The Beef Cattle Research Council is holding a webinar on swath and bale grazing strategies across the country on Wednesday, November 23. The schedule is: 4 p.m. in B.C.; 5 p.m. in Alberta; 6 p.m. in Saskatchewan and Manitoba; 7 p.m. in Ontario and Quebec; 8 p.m. in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

If you can’t make that time, the webinar will be recorded and posted online at a later date. All registrants will receive a link to the recording. To register visit the BCRC website at

Farm Management Canada (FMC) and the Canadian Association of Diploma in Agriculture Programs (CADAP) are looking for applicants to their 2016-17 Excellence Awards for Agricultural Students. Three scholarships are up for grabs with the first-place winner receiving $1,500. Students are asked to submit a multimedia presentation, a video, a Twitter chat, a blog or a Wiki, on how they, as a future member of the agricultural industry, propose to bridge the information and awareness gap between producers and the general public.

Details can be found at The deadline is May 5, 2017.

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