Participant Spotlight


Allana Minchau


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!

Amy Higgins


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.

Annessa Good


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.

Bree Patterson


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!

Dean Sentes


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.

Jacqueline Toews


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.

Jordan Dahmer


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.

Jessica Giles


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.

Leonard Retzlaff


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.

Megan Clifton


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.

Melissa Downing


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.

Melissa Van Sickle


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.

Travis Page


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.

Raina Syrnyk


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.

Tyler Fewings


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.

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