Cattlemen’s Young Leaders
Laura Code works as the beef and livestock industry specialist for the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture. Her love of agriculture started at a young age on her family’s mixed farm on Vancouver Island and while going through 4-H. Code graduated from the University of Guelph with a bachelor of science in agriculture. She also holds a dual master’s degree in management of animal resources and sustainable development in agriculture. She recently married a cattle rancher’s son and in her free time she helps with the cattle and honeybees on the farm. Her mentor is Lee Sinclair of Regina, Sask., who has been working in agricultural sales since 1995. Sinclair now works as an account manager for Merck Animal Health, covering southern and eastern Saskatchewan.
Laura Plett and her husband Ryan own and operate a cow-calf operation in Stead, Man., alongside her family’s fourth-generation grain farm. She started her cow herd in 2014 while based near Meadow Lake, Sask. Plett returned to Manitoba, married, had a baby and retired from her previous career as a hunting and fishing guide and outfitting manager. She now raises commercial Black Angus cattle with a Hereford influence. The Pletts have also recently added range sheep to diversify and better use the resources they already have to work with. Plett’s mentor is Martin Unrau, who ranches near MacGregor, Man., with his family. He served as president with the CCA and the Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP), and in 2019 received the MBP’s lifetime achievement award.
Elan and Scott Lees of Soderglen South received Alberta’s 2021 Environmental Stewardship Award. Soderglen South includes two ranches, located at Fort Macleod and Cardston. Soderglen has conserved native grasslands and protected wetlands, and has also converted some cropland to perennial forage. Ranch managers Ross Howey, Roger Gerard and Jeff DeMarni are also key to the success of the initiatives.
Soderglen Ranches’ seedstock operation, based in Rocky View County, also received AgSight’s Mark of Excellence award for its contribution to livestock genetic improvement. The ranch uses data to improve performance, and has also developed two of its own hybrid breeds with emphasis on performance and carcass: Continental Carcass Maker, and Red/Black MAX.
Dr. Gleise M. Silva is the inaugural Beef Cattle Research Council-Hays chair in beef production systems at the University of Alberta. She grew up in Recife, Brazil, and completed her PhD at the University of Florida, focusing on environmental and diet-induced stress in cattle, and on potential solutions to make cattle healthier and more efficient for the producer. Her position as chair begins on July 1.
Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association welcomed three new board members to its ranks this year: Garner Deobald (Saskatchewan Stock Growers’ Association), Joleen Shea (District 7/Kindersley) and Kelly Williamson (Saskatchewan Stock Growers’ Association). Paula Larson, Kelcy Elford and Harold Martens completed their service to the board. Arnold Balicki of Shellbrook remains the chair.
Dr. Scott Wright took the helm as director at USask’s Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence on May 19. Wright earned his master’s degree in animal science and PhD in plant breeding at the University of Saskatchewan, and went on to work in beef and forage research. He has held leadership positions with the Feeds Innovation Institute, director positions with AAFC and most recently worked at Star Group in the produce industry.
Dr. Renate Weller is stepping into the role of dean at University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine, effective September 1, 2021. Weller earned her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Ludwig Maximilians University in Germany. She held several roles at the Royal Veterinary College in the U.K. Weller is currently the inaugural director of veterinary education at CVS Group plc, one of the largest integrated veterinary service providers in Europe.
Maury Grant is now Datamars North America’s territory manager for B.C. and Alberta. Grant has years of experience in the ranching and animal health industry, most recently with Boehringer Ingelheim.
The Canadian Beef Improvement Network has announced its inaugural executive committee, which will operate under the authority of the Canadian Beef Breeds Council. The executive committee includes: David Sibbald (chair), Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, Jeffrey Fitzpatrick Stillwell, Stephen Hughes, Myles Immerkar, Dr. Kee Jim, Michael Latimer, Virgil Lowe, Kim McConnell, Dr. Stephen Miller and Brian Van Doormaal.
Alltech Canada has named Shipwheel Cattle Feeders the recipient of its Planet of Plenty award. Shipwheel is currently run by Andrea Stroeve-Sawa, Trevor Sawa and their family, near Taber, Alta. Alltech notes that the people at Shipwheel have maintained “an unwavering dedication” to continually improve their land base, the animals in their care and their community over multiple generations.