Cattlemen’s Young Leaders and new faces at beef, cattle groups

NewsMakers from the January 2021 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Andrea van Iterson. photo: Supplied

Andrea van Iterson grew up on a small backgrounding operation near Westwold, B.C. She describes 4-H as an integral part of her childhood, and today she is a 4-H leader with her sons’ club. After eight years off farm, in 2012 van Iterson and her husband moved their young family to Westwold to farm with her family. Today their operation backgrounds 2,500 to 3,000 head a year. She also works as executive director for the B.C. Association of Cattle Feeders, which gives her a chance to work with the National Cattle Feeders’ Association. Van Iterson is also a board member with AgSafe B.C. and is involved with the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association’s public affairs and education committee. Goals for the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program include gaining new contacts with industry members and partners, working on speaking and engagement strategies, and becoming more confident at advocating for the industry. Her mentor is Fawn Jackson, director of government and international relations at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and previously the founding executive director of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Jackson, who now lives in Ottawa, grew up on a Manitoba farm and is a strong advocate for the endangered grassland ecosystem.

Aydon Almberg. photo: Supplied

Aydon Almberg is the fourth generation at the Lazy HE Ranch Ltd. in the Czar, Alta. area. Growing up, Almberg showed cattle and took part in judging programs through 4-H for nine years. After high school, he attended Lakeland College in Vermilion, earning a diploma in agribusiness. He then returned home to the family’s cow-calf operation. Today the ranch has a 1,800-head cow-calf operation and retains ownership of calves for backgrounding. They also have a 3,000-head capacity feedlot, with the balance comprising purchased cattle for backgrounding and future grass stock. Almberg, his wife Jess and son Vern also raise and train cow-bred quarter horses for ranch use. His mentor is Dave Solverson, who operates Woodwind Ranch with his family near Camrose, Alta. Solverson was also president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association from 2014 to 2016, during which time he helped negotiate several trade deals favourable to the beef industry.

Lauren Martin. photo: Supplied

Lauren Martin is the new government and food industry relations manager at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). She provides leadership and staff support to CCA’s food policy committee and is a key member of CCA’s government relations team. Martin will be working out of the Ottawa office. Prior to joining CCA, Martin worked as a lobbyist for other agriculture associations and as a practicing lawyer. She brings a great passion for the agri-food system and will soon be found on her own farm outside the city!


Lisa Bastarache is the new manager of marketing and communications at the Alberta Beef Producers. She will be overseeing the launch of the new ABP magazine and online platform this year, as well as external communications efforts designed to enhance the image of beef producers and the industry. She will also work closely with ABP’s marketing and communications agency, WS, and manage two new roles at ABP — an editorial content specialist and a field representative. Bastarache has previously held communications positions at Wheatland County and Alberta Barley. She grew up on a cattle operation in central Alberta, and currently serves as a director with the Didsbury Agricultural Society.

Lynsay Beavers. photo: Supplied

Lynsay Beavers is the new stakeholder engagement specialist at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). Working as part of the public and stakeholder engagement (PSE) team, Beavers will take the lead on various projects to promote consumer trust in the Canadian beef industry. She will also support the PSE team in issues response and assist with campaign strategy and execution. Prior to joining CCA, Beavers worked in the dairy industry in extension, marketing and communications.



Jeff Barker. photo: Supplied

Our belated condolences to the loved ones of Jeff Barker, 53 of Caledonia, Ont. Barker died of ALS last year.

He was known in the 1980s and ’90s as part of the energetic Barker bunch from Hagersville, who circulated in the purebred Charolais breed. He and his brother Brad were accomplished youth showmen. Together with their sister, parents and their uncles, the Barker surname was mentioned often. Affectionately nicknamed “Hank,” Barker worked as a nutritionist and salesman with Ralston-Purina for Harwil Farms of Hagersville for 19 years.

Barker’s wife Stacey survives him, along with their three grown children. His parents, Charlie and Linda, also survive him, as do his siblings: Danny, Connie and Brad, and all their families.

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