New president for Canadian Meat Council, new inductees for Sask. Agricultural Hall of Fame

NewsMakers from the May 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Chris White

Chris White is the new president and CEO of the Canadian Meat Council. He comes to the council with 20 years experience in government and industry relations as chief of staff for five federal cabinet ministers and vice-president of government relations in the finance, insurance, and auto sectors. The Canadian Meat Council represents 400 federally inspected meat processing establishments with annual sales of $28 billion, including exports of $6.1 billion, and 66,000 jobs making it the largest component of this country’s food processing sector.

Grant Zalinko

Grant Zalinko has been promoted to the position of executive director of the livestock branch in the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. He was previously the manager of the livestock development unit and chiefly responsible for the development and updating of the ministry’s livestock strategy. He and his wife also manage a small commercial cattle operation near Rouleau.


Garner Deobald

Garner Deobald of Hodgeville, Sask., has been re-elected president of the Canadian Beef Breeds Council. Joining him on the board are vice-president Roger Peters from Red Deer, and new directors Jay Cross, David Sibbald, and Tessa Verbeek from Calgary, and Reed Rigney from Westlock, Alta.



Bruce Holmquist

Bruce Holmquist of Saskatoon is the new president of the Canadian Western Agribition, an organization he has been involved with as a volunteer and executive member for the past 40 years. He is also the general manager of the Canadian Simmental Association. Joining him on the executive are: vice-president Chris Lee from Arcola, past president Stewart Stone of Regina and directors at large Kim Hextall of Grenfell, Ross Macdonald from Lake Alma and Bryce Thompson of Regina.

David Sibbald

David Sibbald is the new president and chairman of the board of the Calgary Stampede. He is also the current president of the Canadian Angus Association and will continue to fill that role until the conclusion of the CAA annual meeting in Brandon on June 10. His term as president of the Stampede board runs until 2019.

Cattlemen Tim Oleksyn and George Cooper were inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon on April 22, 2017.

Tim Oleksyn

Tim Oleksyn, a rancher and farmer from Shellbrook has been a supporter of beef research for decades. He has been a board member and chair of the Western Beef Development Centre and the Beef Cattle Research Council and served on the board of the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund, Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute and the new Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (LFCE). He is currently on the fundraising committee to secure the remaining funds needed to make the LFCE a reality.

George Cooper

George Cooper of West Bend served on the boards of the Canadian Shorthorn Association, Saskatchewan Livestock Association and Canadian Western Agribition, and was president of the Regina Bull Sale. He passed away in August 2016.

Also inducted were Art Mainil a founding member of the Palliser Wheat Growers Association and founding president of the Weyburn Inland Terminal, soil researcher Bob McKercher, seed grower and community advocate Donna Edwards, and biotech researcher Wilf Keller.

Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) presented three Awards of Distinction during the recent Livestock Care Conference in Leduc to recognize individuals or groups that have made exceptional contributions to farm animal care in Alberta.

The Communication Award was presented to Alberta Beef Quality Starts Here, a non-profit, industry-supported organization that has operated as the provincial delivery agent for the Verified Beef Production (VBP) program since 2003. In 2016 the agency had to step up its training and communication activities to include three new modules addressing animal care, stewardship and biosecurity under the VBP Plus (VBP+) program.

Jackie Wepruk

The Award for Industry Leadership was presented to Jackie Wepruk, a founder and current general manager of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). The NFACC has facilitated the development of updated codes of practice for the care and handling of different livestock species in Canada, and the development of animal care assessment programs.


Dr. Merle Olson

The Award for Innovation was presented to veterinarian and long-time farm animal care advocate Dr. Merle Olson, for his tireless efforts in the research, development and commercialization of economical pharmaceutical options for pain management and parasite control in livestock. As vice-president of research and development at Solvet Dr. Olson developed Meloxicam Oral Suspension — a new product for cattle available at

Dr. Donald E. Buckingham has been named CEO of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, an Ottawa-based independent non-profit research organization that develops policy options for the agricultural and agri-food sectors. Buckingham is currently chair of the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal. His new position is effective July 1, 2017.

The Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program has officially launched a new website, which offers a single-stop comprehensive resource for all matters related to VBP+. It can be found online at

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