Participant Spotlight

2018
Kim McConnell, Mentee
Melissa Downing, Mentor
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Raina Syrnyk, Mentee
Farrah Williams, Mentor
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Allana Minchau, Mentee
Cherni Copithorne Barnes, Mentor
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Annessa Good, Mentee
Jude Capper, Mentor
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Tyler Fewings, Mentee
Scott Dickson, Mentor
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Megan Clifton, Mentee
Rick Porter, Mentor
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Travis Page, Mentee
Holt Tripp, Mentor
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Melissa Van Sickle, Mentee
John Cowley, Mentor
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Bree Patterson, Mentee
Sandy Russell, Mentor
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Amy Higgins, Mentee
Kerry Wright, Mentor
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Dean Sentes, Mentee
Doug and Judy Finseth, Mentors
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Leonard Retzlaff, Mentee
George Graham, Mentor
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Jacquilien Toews, Mentee
Aaron Grant, Mentor
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Jessica Giles, Mentee
Dianne Dinstad, Mentors
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Jordan Dahmer, Mentee
Tom Teichrobe, Mentor
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Melissa Downing, Mentee

Biography:

Melissa was raised on a mixed farm in Manitoba and has been passionate about agriculture since a young age. She moved to Alberta for work and stayed for education, first attending Olds College and then the University of Alberta, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science with a Sustainable Agriculture major.

Melissa has worked with several areas of the industry including research, feedlot production, value chains and is currently the Alberta Provincial Coordinator for Verified Beef Production Plus. She aspires to help get the message across to consumers that Canadian beef producers are doing a great job and thereby increase confidence and support of our product. Melissa is currently ranching with her husband and raising the fifth generation on their family farm in east central Alberta, and is very grateful to be both personally and professionally involved in the beef industry. She is humbled to be selected as a CYL finalist and is excited for the networking and mentorship opportunities that the program has to offer.

Kim McConnell, Mentor

Biography:

Over the years, Kim led many national and international brand and marketing assignments and has been the catalyst behind many major industry ventures including an initiative to build greater public trust in food and farming.

Kim McConnell was a founder of AdFarm, one of the largest agricultural marketing communications firms in North America.

Kim is also the recipient of many national business awards including ‘Agri-Marketer of the Year’ and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation “Mentor of the Year”. In 2012 he was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame. And in 2017 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian award.

Kim is a director on a number of corporate and volunteer boards including Calgary Stampede Foundation, 4-H Canada and the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity. Kim is passionate about agriculture, food, youth and the entrepreneurial spirit.



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Raina Syrnyk, Mentee

Biography:

Raina was born on a mixed grain and commercial cattle farm near Ethelbert, Manitoba. While being involved in the 4-H program, Raina began building a herd of purebred Black and Red Angus females. Today the herd is approximately 100 females. After purchasing her first Angus females in 2009, Raina became involved extensively in the Canadian Junior Angus program. She served four years as the Manitoba director and 2 years as the president of the CJA.

Raina is currently completing her undergraduate degree at the Asper School of Business with a major in finance and starting level 1 of the CFA designation this fall. She intends establish a career in the financial industry with a focus on agriculture. Raina is very passionate about the agricultural industry and is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the CYL program.

Farrah Williams, Mentor

Biography:

An accountant and Senior Manager with the Catalyst Group in Calgary, Farrah is no stranger to the Ag industry. It is her real life farm experience that helps to truly understand fellow farmer and rancher’s needs and offer tailored accounting and taxation advice.

Farrah grew up on a large mixed family farm and ranch in East Central Alberta where she financed her first cow herd in her junior years and learned the essence of hard work and benefits of farm values. She is now farming alongside her husband and three children near Arrowwood, Alberta where they grow a variety of grains and oilseeds and raise Black Angus cattle utilizing sustainable agricultural practices and land stewardship. They are Outstanding Young Farmer nominees, avid community members and enjoy being involved in various organizations and projects. She has served on several organizational boards, including corporate and not for profit. Their belief is to focus on performance and results by continually improving operations, embracing emerging technology and strategies and to persistently improve operations and ultimately the bottom line.

As a Monsanto Agribusiness scholarship recipient, she received her Bachelor of Management with a major in Accounting from the University of Lethbridge. She participated in the CGA program and later pursued her Chartered Accountant designation with the C.A. School of Business, successfully achieving this in 2004.

Almost two decades in public practice has provided the experience needed to provide clients with the tools and advice they require in today’s business environment. Specializing in the Agricultural sector, her experience includes a variety of professional services such as personal and corporate taxation, assurance, financial planning and reporting, cash flow and budgeting as well as succession and estate planning with her latest involvement being with Catalyst Group’s Ag Leadership and Management Development program.

She is excited to become involved in the 2018-19 CYL program and to continue to serve as an advocate for the beef industry.



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Allana Minchau, Mentee

Biography:

Allana Minchau grew up on commercial cow-calf ranch northern Alberta, west of Millet with their herd averaging most years around 250 head of cattle. Her first memories are being horseback checking cattle and wrangling calves. Her family decided to pack up the 7A7 Minchau Ranch and head to Southern Alberta, next to Spring Coulee in 2007.

Allana grew up as the “hired” help on the ranch, with her parents involving her in every aspect of the operation, including starting a personal herd at an early age plus being involved in several 4-H clubs (beef, light horse, standardbred) for many years.

In 2006 she moved to Calgary to pursue a degree in public relations at Mount Royal University and after obtaining a PR degree and through her last internship at the Calgary Roughnecks professional lacrosse team, that set her on a trail of pursuing a career in the sports industry. The Roughnecks were acquired by the Calgary Flames where Allana continued to follow her career and became the business manager of the Roughnecks. During this time, to stay connected to the industry, she volunteered at the Calgary Stampede and made frequent trips home to assist with work and maintain her herd which at this point had plateaued at 25 head.

After 8 years in sports she knew it was time to return to her roots and pursue a new career in agriculture. This leads to Allana’s current involvement in the industry where she pursued her passion in assisting the four national organizations (CCA, CBBC, BCRC, Canada Beef) in putting together the Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC). As the Executive Director, Allana works primarily with industry volunteers to create a conference with the goal of being the “meeting place” of the Canadian beef industry.

This past fall Allana and her fiancé moved closer to the ranch to assist with more of the day-to-day operation and is currently in the process of the transition and succession planning of the family ranch.

Allana is honored to have the opportunity to be a part of the CYL program and community. She looks forward to growing her network of young cattlemen, the mentorship goals, and contributing more to the Canadian beef industry!

Cherni Copithorne Barnes, Mentor

Biography:

Cherie is a 4th generation rancher and CEO of CL Ranches Ltd. located in Jumping Pound, just west of Calgary, AB. CL Ranches Ltd. is a a cow/calf and backgrounding operation which also grows its own feed supply. Cherie is the immediate past chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, sits on the advisory board for the Rangeland Research Institute, which is affiliated with the University of Alberta as well as the Strategic Engagement Group for Olds College. She also is the chair of the newly formed Agri-Food Committee with the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede as well as their Strategic Ag and Western Events Board Committee. Cherie and her husband Tim spent 7 years ranching in Uruguay where they were involved in a full beef value chain from the ranch, to one of the first feedlots, and finally to the packing plant where meat was then sold into the EU and North America.



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Annessa Good, Mentee

Biography:

Annessa Good was born and raised on a mixed farm in Cremona, Ab, where her family raised purebred Simmental cattle and exported Timothy-Alfalfa Hay to Japan. Her Father, alongside her Grandfather were one of the first importers of Simmental cattle into Canada in the 1960’s. Annessa attended Mount Royal University, where she studied Business, specializing in Supply Chain Management, giving her a unique insight into operational functionality. After graduation and working in Calgary for various industries, Annessa knew in her heart that she needed to return to Agriculture. Therefore, she had the wonderful opportunity to work at Veterinary Agri-Health Services, which was an eye-opening experience, as coming from the Purebred side herself, this clinic services feedlot and cow/calf operations across western Canada. However, Annessa still felt removed from the area of agriculture that she is most passionate about – family farm sustainability and succession planning.

Therefore, Annessa has since moved home to her family farm near Cremona, AB, and is slowly starting to re-build her cow herd, while also enjoying her time helping out a local purebred Angus breeder with their operation. Annessa has since begun working in her family’s consulting company, GRS Consulting Ltd. (GRS). GRS is a leading-edge, Succession Planning Consulting Company servicing over 250 clients per year. It is here, that Annessa has found her niche, providing a voice for the Younger Generation at the Succession Planning Table. Whether it be writing articles, sitting in on client meetings or co-presenting with her father, Merle Good, Annessa’s focus and passion is to ensure that there are business opportunities and most importantly business clarity, for the younger generation.

Annessa is very excited and honored to be selected as one of the 2018/2019 Cattleman’s Young Leaders Finalists and looks forward to expanding her knowledge and cannot wait to see where this journey will lead.

Jude Capper, Mentor

Biography:

Jude L. Capper, Ph.D. is an independent Livestock Sustainability Consultant based in Oxfordshire, UK, who undertook her BSc (Agriculture with Animal Science) and PhD (Ruminant Nutrition and Behaviour) at Harper Adams University College (UK), followed by post-doctoral research at Cornell University (USA) and a faculty position at Washington State University (USA).

Jude's research focuses on modeling the sustainability of livestock production systems, specifically dairy and beef, including quantifying changes made by improving productivity or adopting differing management practices.

Jude’s professional goal is to communicate the importance of factors affecting livestock industry sustainability to enhance the knowledge and understanding of food production stakeholders from the farmer through to the retailer, policy-maker and consumer. She has an active social media presence and spends a considerable amount of time de-bunking some of the more commonly-heard myths relating to livestock production. To this end, she was awarded the Farmers Guardians “Farming Hero of the Year 2018” and the Women in Dairy “Dairy Industry Woman of the Year 2017” awards.



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Tyler Fewings, Mentee

Biography:

Tyler Fewings juggles time zones while farming and working along the border in the South-West and South-East corners of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Tyler was born and raised on the family farm in the Pierson, Manitoba area before pursuing a post-secondary education at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources. After completing undergraduate studies in Animal Science and Rangeland Resources, Tyler began working in the agriculture industry. This has involved working in a number of roles in the public, private and non-profit sectors in Queensland, Australia and across western Canada.

Currently, Tyler is the Watershed Co-ordinator for the grass-roots organization, Lower Souris Watershed Committee. This Watershed Stewardship Organization is one of eleven in the province of Saskatchewan that actively works to promote beneficial management practices and to ensure responsible impact on the environment and water for the benefit of all watershed residents. From early on, the interaction between agriculture and the environment is something that has intrigued Tyler. This has led to his personal interest in land and water resource stewardship and conservation. These values are carried to the farming operation where he works on implementing those principles. Tyler, his wife Amy and their young children currently farm alongside Tyler’s family where they operate a mixed farm with a focus on the cow-calf enterprise.

While environmental stewardship is a primary interest for Tyler, he also believes that focusing on management of all aspects of a farming operation is a key to unlocking efficiency and profitability. Tyler’s hope is to engage in learning more about farm business and financial management to create a strong foundation on which to build. Tyler has enjoyed the Cattlemen’s Young Leader’s experience thus far and looks forward to continued involvement with the Program and the opportunities that come along with it.

Scott Dickson, Mentor

Biography:

Coming soon!



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Megan Clifton, Mentee

Biography:

Megan was born and raised in Keremeos, British Columbia on her family's Cattle Ranch, Clifton Ranch, as a Third Generation Rancher. The ranch currently runs 500 Mother Cows and a Bull Test Station. Growing up she was very involved in Beef 4-H for 8 years and on her family's ranch. Her passion for the Ranching Industry and Animal Health led her to apply to the 2 year Registered Veterinary Technician Program at TRU in Kamloops, British Columbia. She graduated top in her Large Animal Studies and worked part time at a mixed animal practice in Penticton, British Columbia for 2 years while also working on her Family's Ranch.

She was given an opportunity to relocate to Northern Alberta and work for a Pharmaceutical Company, Zoetis Animal Health, as Territory Manager for the Cattle, Equine and Genetics Portfolio. Today, she is currently the Territory Manager for Zoetis Animal Health for Northern Alberta and British Columbia. She has met so many great people involved in the Beef Industry throughout her Zoetis travels and is continually inspired and learning every day.

Megan is very grateful for this opportunity to be a part of the CYL program. She looks forward to meeting all the wonderful people who are involved and hopes to learn from each interaction. Through CYL, she hopes this opportunity will not only improve her Industry network, but educate her on the best strategies to start her own cattle operation. She hopes she can one day educate and inspire future, young cattle producers on starting their own cattle operations and grow the Beef Industry's future.

Rick Porter, Mentor

Biography:

Coming soon!



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Travis Page, Mentee

Biography:

Travis grew up on a commercial cow/calf and grain operation East of Didsbury, Alberta. From a young age, he was involved in all aspects of the farm, from operating and servicing equipment, to feeding cattle and processing backgrounders. He was enrolled in 4H, and at the age of 14 began growing his own herd of both commercial and Purebred Red Angus cows. Post graduation, Travis attended Olds College for two years and received a Diploma in Agriculture Business. Following college, he married Becky, and together they grew their own cowherd and family to what it is today. Four kids later, Travis now manages their herd of over 400 females, consisting of both purebred and commercial Red Angus and Polled Hereford cattle. Each spring there are 40 purebred bulls sold off of the farm by Private Treaty, as well as large groups of F1 baldy bred heifers. Around 150 backgrounders are kept over the winter, and fed alongside the bull crop. The couple recently was able to incorporate a parcel of land and their own yard into the equation, where they are currently basing their operation to run solely under the farm name, Redline Livestock. With plans to increase in size and quality, Travis is looking forward to being a part of CYL, and taking in all that it has to offer.

Holt Tripp, Mentor

Biography:

Holt Tripp has served as the Director of Cattle Operations for G.K. Jim Farms since 2015, where he is directly involved in the procurement, production, and marketing of beef cattle across Canada and the United States. Prior to joining G.K. Jim Farms, he obtained degrees in animal science (BS, 2010), veterinary medicine (DVM, 2015), and business administration (MBA, 2015) from Oklahoma State University (Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA). His professional interests focus on the utilization of bioeconomic modelling to guide decision making in various beef production systems.



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Melissa Van Sickle, Mentee

Biography:

Melissa’s interest in cattle started at an early age and grew with her participation in 4-H. She graduated from the UofS with a BSc in Animal Science. After an Australian adventure, she came home to work for her family’s company called Genetic Ventures. The company specializes in artificial insemination and synchronization of beef and dairy cattle. Melissa has taught continuing education courses for cattle AI at Olds College as well. She would like to use genomic testing, genomic mating programs and sexing technology to maximize progress in the beef industry. Driving progress in production and health traits through genetic selection is her main interest as a producer, AI technician and CYL finalist. She is grateful to be selected and is looking forward to learning all she can while in the program.

Melissa currently lives near Pigeon Lake, Alberta with her significant other. They own a herd of Red Angus/ Simmental cross cows. They recently purchased a provincially inspected poultry processing facility. She has found starting a business challenging and interesting and they have hopes of starting a red meat facility as well.

John Cowley, Mentor

Biography:

John is currently a consultant geneticist and analyst with AbacusBio Ltd. Somewhat of a perpetual nomad, John only recently left Canadian shores for his new position in Edinburgh, UK. Originally from Co. Cork, Ireland, he landed in Edmonton in the summer of 2011 to work with Livestock Gentec at the University of Alberta. His work focussed on genomics, genetic evaluation, feed efficiency and composite breeding programs with Beefbooster Inc. until he took a position with the Canadian Beef Breeds Council in 2014. He then enjoyed an academia,industry crossover position as their Director of Science and Industry Advancement until mid-2018. John can’t say enough about his time in Canada (he’s writing this in the third person) and enjoyed working in an unbelievably enthusiastic, welcoming and driven industry. Edmonton is definitely his second home. Now with AbacusBio, his focus is on applied genetic and technical solutions for producers, businesses, organisations and agencies, by focussing on breeding objective and new trait development, data driven decisions and utilisation of emerging technologies. With regards to the agri-food sector, John has a broad scientific and economic interest and enjoys working alongside, and with, some great innovators. During his time in Canada, Crowley got to see what the CYL program can do and was humbled to be asked to be a mentor. John looks forward to getting to work with and know his mentee and share as much experience as he can, as well as some peer to peer learning.



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Bree Patterson, Mentee

Biography:

Bree was raised in BC's dairyland and was bit by the agricultural bug at the ripe age of 9, thanks to the 4-H BC program. However, unlike some of the other CYL'ers, Bree's family does not farm or ranch. Growing up, Bree was heavily involved in showing livestock and working for local dairy and beef producers before she headed to Alberta to obtain her Animal Science Diploma, with a focus in beef production at Lakeland College. During her time at Lakeland, she had the opportunity to be the Student Leader for the Cow/Calf Student Managed Farm Unit, where her passion for beef continued to grow. After graduating, Bree milked cows and worked for various crop inputs/grain elevators as an agronomic advisor and grain merchant for 7 years, all while assisting clients, family and friends with their cow/calf operations across Alberta and Saskatchewan. In between working with plants and livestock, Bree created her first business, that's still running today - B.C.P.hoto, an agriculture photography company. In 2015, Bree decided she was either going to start building her own herd of commercial heifers or go back to school, to pursue a degree in Communications. When the university accepted her application, she chose to study Communications, with an agricultural focus, and put the heifer purchase on hold. Upon completion of her degree in 2017, Bree created her second business, Just.Ag Productions, an agricultural communications company. In the spring of 2017, Bree moved back to BC, where she is currently BC Cattlemen's Beef Production Specialist, located in Kamloops. As BCCA's Beef Production Specialist, she is the staff support to the Livestock Industry Protection Committee (Animal Health/Production), as well as the Public Affairs and Education Committee.

Bree is excited and honoured to be part of the CYL program, and can't wait to grow and learn within the Canadian beef industry. She looks forward to the opportunities that CYL offers and can't wait to see what the program has in store!

Sandy Russell, Mentor

Biography:

Sandy Russell has spent her entire life involved in agriculture. She was raised on her family’s ranch in central Saskatchewan and remains active in the cattle business residing with her family on the ranch near Outlook, Saskatchewan. Sandy received both her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan focusing on animal science, economic analysis and information management within the beef industry. Following her formal education, Sandy worked for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture for six years as the Provincial Beef Economist.

In 2008, Sandy left public service to become a partner in Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting. During this time she has worked with numerous clients and partners on an extensive list of projects within agriculture. Her interests and expertise include policy and market analysis, cost/benefit assessments, strategic planning and project management. Sandy has worked with industry associations, private business, provincial and federal governments and universities across Canada. She has become recognized for her market analysis of the beef industry and is respected for her in-depth knowledge and understanding of the ever-changing dynamics of the beef cattle business. Sandy has been an invited speaker to numerous events over the past fifteen years sharing her knowledge and passion for the Canadian beef industry.



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Amy Higgins

Biography:

Hailing from Quispamsis, New Brunswick, Amy Higgins has experienced the diversity of Agriculture in Canada.

She returned home to the family farm in NB in the spring of 2017 after 11 years working with Cargill in the prairies in the grain and crop inputs sector. During her time in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Amy was exposed to much larger scale ag and beef industries and gained valuable experience in crop production. Amy now works as the Agricultural Business Development Specialist at the Sussex & Studholm Agricultural Society (Co-op) where she works with producers and growers in many industries including dairy, beef, grape, berry and hops.

Amy grew up through the ranks of the 4-H program, Junior Angus Association and other beef breed programs and showed cattle at various fairs and exhibitions around the Maritimes. She is currently the president of the Maritime Angus Association and is working with that board on executing on a comprehensive marketing plan. Amy is a firm believer that the Atlantic region has a high potential for growth in the beef sector.

Starting Valley Meadows of Model Farm, a CSA program for vegetables, was one way to value add to the small purebred Angus cow/calf operation that her parents own. Starting slow with vegetables her goal is to incorporate beef into that direct marketing business. The suburbs have grown up significantly around the farm which creates a challenge of being slightly landlocked, but provides opportunity of having direct market access.

Amy is very thankful to the various sponsors of the CYL program and is honoured to be a part of this years mentorship finalists.

Kerry Wright, Mentor

Biography:

Kerry graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours Degree and completed a dietetic internship with Versa Foods (now known as Aramark). Soon after Kerry was hired as the Food and Nutrition Specialist for the Beef Information Centre (now known as Canada Beef). During her 10 year employment at BIC, Kerry held progressive positions, and led an industry advisory team as National Director, Product Development Initiative, where she worked with food and beverage processors nationally to facilitate the development of beef products.

Over the last 15 years, and as the current Vice President at Mallot Creek Strategies Inc., the largest privately owned consulting firm to the food and beverage industry in Canada, Kerry has assisted companies with strategic business planning, industry stakeholder and consumer research, sales, marketing and product development projects across North America. And, from her early dedication to working with producer groups, Kerry continues to work with many grassroots organizations.

Kerry is honoured to be a mentor for the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program to support the achievement of identified mentee goals.



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Dean Sentes, Mentee

Biography:

Dean was born and raised on a commercial cow/calf operation in rural Saskatchewan. His love of livestock and animal husbandry started early on. As a child, he was always the first one to jump in the truck to check cows with his grandpa and was always ready to go the next bull or female sale. At the age of 12 Dean started in 4-H and was a member until he was 20. When Dean wasn’t busy with the ranch or his 4-H calves, he was doing various other activities which included baseball, curling, football and being president of the Saskatchewan Junior Angus Association.

After grade 12, Dean attended Lakeland College in Vermillion and obtained his Diploma in Livestock Production. Once completing college, Dean moved around for a couple years until he started working at Richardson Pioneer. Today, Dean works full-time off his ranch as a Grain Merchant for Richardson Pioneer. Dean currently sits on the Young Cattleman’s Council as the Saskatchewan representative.

In the fall of 2015, Dean along with his wife, Gina, decided to sell their commercial cattle back to the ranch where Dean was raised and strike out on their own with purebred Simmentals at their own place near Cymric Sk. Dean, his wife Gina and their two daughters, Maren and Brooke, own and operate a purebred Simmental seed stock operation under the name Millington Ranch.

Dean is extremely grateful and excited to be selected as a finalist for the CYL program. He hopes to gain experience and knowledge which will not only help on his own ranch but that he may use to help the Canadian Beef Industry going forward. He is looking forward to meeting and interacting with other finalists and the mentors throughout the year.

Doug and Judy Finseth, Mentors


Biography:

Doug Finseth
Doug has had a long career in the Alberta Hereford industry. He is currently the Manager of Bar Pipe Hereford Ranch at Okotoks, Alberta an operation that has run about 200 purebred cows and marketed about 40 bulls per year by private treaty, consignment sales and more recently at its own production sale.

Doug is the past President of the Alberta Cattle Breeders Association, and a past president of the Alberta Hereford Association. He is a lifetime member of the Northern Alberta Hereford Club. He was also a Director of the Canadian Hereford Association and was inducted into the Canadian Hereford Association Honour Roll in 2016.

Doug was Chairman of the Canadian Bull Congress for 8 years and has been a regular contributor at FarmFair International. Doug purchased his first Hereford heifer in 1966 and following the final Bar Pipe Hereford Ranch Sale will be moving a small, elite cowherd to the family farm at Tofield, Alberta where he and wife Judy will continue to raise Herefords.

Judy Finseth
Judy co-manages Bar Pipe Hereford Ranch with husband Doug. She is actively involved in the Ranch operation and is responsible for the marketing and promotion of the operation. She has also managed the Calgary Bull Sale for the past 6 years.

Judy is the current President of the Alberta Hereford Association and was a committee Chair for the 2012 World Hereford Conference. She was also the adult Chairperson for Bonanza 2016, the National Junior Hereford Show.

Judy is an artist, freelance writer and photographer and raises and trains Border Collie stock dogs.



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Leonard Retzlaff , Mentee

Biography:

Leonard Retzlaff grew up on a mixed farm near Rosemary AB. The farm grows a variety of irrigated crops, but Leonard has always gravitated to the pastures and corrals, loving nothing more than handling livestock. Leonard and his wife Michelle have two sons, Henry and George. Leonard is active in the community serving as a church board member and on the board of the Rosemary Grazing Association.

Currently Leonard is active in the management and operation of Saddleridge Farming Co with his family. The cattle operation is composed of a commercial cowherd as well as purebred Charolais and a small backgrounding lot. Saddleridge Charolais bulls are marketed every February in Brooks. The Retzlaff family strives for efficient cattle that will perform on the cow and in the lot, creating value for everyone in the value chain. Genetics have to prove themselves on the commercial herd or they have no place in the purebreds. The farming side of the operation grows the feed as well as wheat and canola. Alfalfa seed and leaf cutter bees have also been important to the diversity of the farm.

Leonard is excited for the opportunity to participate in the CYL program. The mentorship and networking opportunities it affords will provide a year of growth for his beef industry knowledge.

George Graham, Mentor

Biography:

George and his family are co-owners of South Slope Feeders Ltd., a diversified agribusiness in Rainier, 20 minutes south of Brooks, along with 3 brothers and their families. The prime focus of the operation is a finishing feedlot with a land base devoted to feed production for the feedlot as well as an increasing move towards more specialty crop production.

George and his family are extremely proud to have celebrated a 50th anniversary of the feedlot operation in 2017. The Graham family has been in Rainier since 1919 when George’s great-grandfather moved his family from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. With some of the fifth generation of the family becoming active participants in the business the transition process continues.

George graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a B.A. in Economics (1978) and a B.Mgt. (1982). George is married to Carmen and have 3 children, Catherine, Rob, and Erin, as well as 2 grandchildren, Sage and Wynn.



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Jacqueline Toews, Mentee

Biography:

Jacqueline was raised on a commercial beef ranch outside of Glaslyn, Saskatchewan. A passion for agriculture was sparked on the family ranch and through 4-H, and the fire continued to burn throughout her educational endeavours. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in Crop Science and focused her degree on forage production and plant breeding. Her undergraduate thesis project was used to select alfalfa cultivars with higher persistence and resistance to grazing for cattle producers.

Jacqueline is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Animal Science at the University of Saskatchewan. Her graduate thesis is on the “Evaluation of Annual Polycrop Mixtures for Soil Health, Cattle Grazing Capacity, and Economics” and is being completed under the co-supervision of Dr. H.A. (Bart) Lardner and Dr. Jeff Schoenau. After completing her graduate studies, Jacqueline wants to pursue a career as a forage and rangeland management specialist in either the public or private sector. She looks forward to a career that will allow her to work with producers and help drive success on their operations.

Jacqueline returns to the family farm whenever possible to lend a helping hand. The family farm is operated by her father and younger sister. Jacqueline enjoys watching the farm grow and evolve as her sister takes on more and more of a management role in the operation.

Jacqueline believes the best way to be successful is through working together by sharing knowledge and experiences. She is humbled to be a part of the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program to learn and grow, in hopes of one day being able to use her experience to help others prosper in the beef industry.

Aaron Grant, Mentor

Biography:

Dr. Aaron Grant grew up on a mixed grain / purebred cattle operation in Olds, AB & was heavily involved in 4H & the purebred cattle business throughout elementary & high school. Dr. Grant attended Texas A&M University where he received his Bachelor’s & Master’s Degree’s in Animal Science while competing on and coaching livestock judging teams. Aaron then attended Michigan State University where he received his Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition/Physiology/Metabolism. Upon graduation, Aaron took a position with Nutrition Service Associates, a Multi-National Livestock Consulting Firm. Aaron currently consults for >500,000 head of cattle in Western Canada & the North West USA. Aaron resides in Olds with his wife & three children.



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Jessica Giles

Biography:

Jessica lives just south of High River, Alberta and is the Alberta Agriculture Reporter for Golden West Radio. She is responsible for conducting interviews, writing scripts and online articles, and broadcasting the agriculture news on eight radio stations across the province. Jessica obtained her Business Administration Diploma in Marketing from Lethbridge College before returning to the family farm and working full time from the radio station in High River. The family farm is a mixed operation with grain and a commercial Angus Simmental cow-calf herd. Over the past eight years, Jessica has been building her own small herd.

Jessica’s love for the beef industry started on the family farm and was fostered during high school through her time in the Longview 4-H Beef club, where she raised a Grand Champion Steer from one of her own cows. Jessica was also very involved in the public speaking portion of the 4-H program. She is now back volunteering with the club as one of the project leaders.

Through Jessica’s time working in radio, she has become passionate about bridging the gap between urban and rural populations and making sure consumers have all the right facts when making decisions about their beef consumption.

During her mentorship, Jessica hopes to improve her communication skills to better tell the great success story of the Canadian beef industry and take advantage of networking opportunities.


Dianne Dinstad, Mentor

Biography:

Coming Soon!



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Jordan Dahmer, Mentee

Biography:

Jordan was born and raised on a small cow/calf operation just outside of Brookdale, Manitoba. She was always heavily involved in the farm throughout her childhood which started her passion for the beef industry from a young age. She also spent 6 years in local beef and horse 4-H clubs.

After high school she moved to Winnipeg to complete her Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Animal Science at the University of Manitoba. After taking a year off to travel and work, she returned to U of M to pursue a Master of Science degree in Animal Science focusing her research on extended grazing practices, specifically stockpile grazing beef heifers. Her work explores different stockpiled forages and their suitability for fall and winter grazing in Manitoba by measuring animal performance, intake, methane output and grazing behavior.

Jordan now lives by Carberry, Manitoba with her fiancé, Derek, and helps on his family farm (cow/calf, grain and potatoes) whenever she can while finishing her master’s thesis.

Tom Teichrobe, Mentor

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