Over the next few months we will feature two or three of the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) each issue. A reminder that applications opened in January for CYL.
Aaron Birch grew up on a mixed operation near Lamond in southern Alberta. He developed an interest in raising purebred Gelbvieh cattle in 4-H. By the time he was finished high school he had already developed a small herd of purebred Gelbvieh females. Birch completed a diploma in agriculture production and management at Olds College. He then returned to the family farm, developing the purebred Gelbvieh herd. In 2017, Birch and his partner, Joe Barnett, relocated to Parkberg, Sask., where they started Twin View Livestock, producing Gelbvieh bulls for commercial customers. Birch’s mentor is Sheldon Kyle of Kenray Ranch/Kyle Farm and Ranch Supply, located at Redvers, Sask.
Broek Murray is from a family farm that focused on cattle feeding and farming near Picture Butte, Alta. Witnessing the day-to-day tasks of running a feedlot sparked Murray’s passion for the cattle industry. After high school, he completed a two-year program, majoring in animal health, from Lethbridge College. Murray now works alongside his dad and brother managing JF Murray Farms Ltd., and hopes to one day run the family farm full-time. He also works as a supervisor at Picture Butte Feeder Co-op, which is one of the largest in Western Canada. Murray’s mentor is Chris Lane, CEO of Canadian Western Agribition in Regina.
Jim Armstrong of Tisdale, Sask. passed away recently. Armstrong was born April 22, 1950, to Ed and Martha Armstrong in Tisdale. Armstrong completed a degree in animal science from the University of Saskatchewan. He and his wife, Janice, settled in Tisdale, where they raised their three girls, April, Jennie and Lori. Armstrong worked as a livestock agrologist with Saskatchewan Agriculture and moved into a management role before retiring in 2011. In recent years, Armstrong enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, teaching them how to garden. Donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice in remembrance of Armstrong.
Jessica Giles is the new youth leadership co-ordinator at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, taking over from Emily Lowe (née Ritchie). Giles manages the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program, and is also an alumnus of that program. While in the program, she was mentored by ag broadcaster Dianne Finstad. Giles previously worked as an ag reporter.
Meanwhile, Emily Lowe is now the regional beef agrologist for Ducks Unlimited Canada, covering Kristine Tapley’s maternity leave. Lowe grew up on her family’s ranch and earned a diploma in agricultural technology from Lethbridge College. In September 2019, she married her fiancée, Virgil Lowe. Kristine Tapley had a baby girl on January 2, named Jocelyn Louise. Everyone is happy and healthy.
Each year, Canadian Western Agribition awards $2,500 scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary education who have exhibited, volunteered or competed at Agribition. The 2019 recipients include: Brandy Fettes (Gladmar, Sask.), who plans to become a massage therapist and treat animals; Shelby Lockie (Balgonie, Sask.), who plans to pursue a degree in communications and public relations; and Baxter Blair (McLean, Sask.), who plans to become a veterinarian. As well, Emily Letendre (Spruce Home, Sask.) received a $1,500 scholarship from the Barry Andrew Family Scholarship. Letendre is studying animal bioscience. Cheyenne Porter (Wainwright, Alta.) received $1,500 from the William M. Farley Memorial Scholarship. Porter plans to pursue veterinary medicine.
The Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence recently welcomed two new board members. Dr. Dan Thomson is a professor at the college of veterinary medicine at Kansas State University, and is the international representative.
Dr. Irena Creed is associate vice-president of research at the University of Saskatchewan and is one of two university representatives, replacing Dr. Dena McMartin.
Larry Wegner is the new chair at the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association. Lawrence Knockaert of Bruxelles is the new vice-chair. The other producer representatives include: Ryan Boyd (finance chair, Forrest), Andrea Hamilton (Glenboro), Kristelle Harper (Brandon), Shauna Breault (Ste. Rose), Matt Van Steelandt (Melita), and Arron Nerbas (Shellmouth).
Congratulations to all the participants of the Canadian Young Speakers for Agriculture (CYSA) competition, which took place during the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. The senior champion was Ellie Stauffer (Alta.); first runner-up was Anika O’Neill (N.B.); second runner-up was Julie French (Ont.). The junior champion was Ryley Mappin (Alta.); first runner-up was Caitlin Riordon (N.B.); second runner-up was Xinye Zhu (Ont.). Mappin and fellow Albertan Jordan Vos (who made the finals in the senior category) both spoke about busting myths in beef production — their presentations are available at the Alberta Farmer Express website.
Congratulations to Justin and Laura Rogers of Brae, P.E.I., and Simon Michaud and Myléne Bourque of Kamouraska, Que., for being designated Canada’s 2019 Outstanding Young Farmers. The Rogerses grow pedigreed seed, forages and beef cattle, and plan to open a dairy. Michaud and Bourque are dairy producers who plan to diversify into potato production.