Participant Spotlight


Aaron Birch


Aaron Birch grew up on a mixed cattle and grain operation in Southern Alberta near the village of Lomond. His passion for everything to do with cattle developed at a very young age. He was a member of the local 4-H club, taking advantage of every possible opportunity that the 4-H program offers. A few highlights of this were leadership and judging trips to Toronto and Billings. It was through exhibiting cattle in 4-H that his interest in raising purebred Gelbvieh cattle was developed. By the time he was finished high school he had already developed a small herd of purebred Gelbvieh females.

Following his passion for agriculture, Aaron attended Olds College and completed a Diploma in Agriculture Production and Management and was also president of the Judging Club. After college he returned to the family farm where his main focus was developing his and his family’s purebred Gelbvieh herds. He led the creation of their successful Gelbvieh bull sale, served as president of the Gelbvieh Association of Alberta & BC and was on the volunteer fire department.

In 2017 Aaron and his partner, Joe Barnett, relocated to their own ranch near Parkbeg, SK. They started Twin View Livestock and focus on producing high quality Gelbvieh cattle. They have enjoyed success in exhibiting their cattle including having the National Champion Bull and Reserve National Champion Female in 2018 as well as Premier Breeder and Exhibitor awards at Agribition in 2017 and 2018. The focus has always been on producing bulls for their commercial customers. Their genetics have also sold to seedstock producers in Canada, United States, Australia and Chile including live cattle, semen and embryos. Aaron believes strongly in giving back to the industry and is on the Canadian Gelbvieh Association Board of Directors. He and Joe judge many 4-H and Junior shows where they focus their efforts on developing confidence and skills in young people.

Aaron is looking forward to all the programming and experiences that Cattlemen’s Young Leaders has to offer.

Broek Murray


Broek Murray is from Picture Butte, Alberta in the heart of “Feedlot Alley” and was raised on a 3rd headed into 4th generation family farm that has always had its main focus on cattle feeding and farming. Broek’s passion for the cattle industry was sparked through witnessing the day to day tasks of running a feedlot. Since a young age, Broek has enjoyed learning the importance of cattle management and so he decided after high school to further his education at the Lethbridge College completing a 2-year program in agricultural studies majoring in animal health.

Broek now works along side his dad and brother in managing JF Murray Farms Ltd. Having hopes to one day run the family farm full time. Broek also wears the hat as Supervisor for the Picture Butte Feeder Co-op. With this Co-op being one of the largest in western Canada, his duties include inspecting cattle across Southern Alberta and meeting with a number of cattle producers from various operations.

Broek is extremely excited to be selected as a finalist for the CYL Program. He is especially excited to learn from his mentor and others to grow in knowledge and gain new perspectives in the cattle industry. Broek looks forward in finding opportunities to promote and encourage others to be involved in the industry and pursue a spot in this program or others like it.

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Cameron Olson


Cameron Olson was raised on a small beef cow-calf and finisher operation southeast of Calgary, AB. Like many, his interest in beef cattle was piqued by 4-H and he participated in clubs in the Calgary region for 8 years. In 2011, Cameron enrolled in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. During his undergraduate program, Cameron was a member of the Saddle and Sirloin Club, the A&M Cattlemen’s Club, and a member of the 2013 Texas A&M Intercollegiate Meats Judging Team, which won High Team at the American Royal meats judging contest. Cameron remained at Texas A&M after his gradation to pursue a Master of Science in Animal Science; he completed that program in 2017 with a thesis titled, “The effect of temperament at feedlot arrival on growth efficiency, feeding behavior, and carcass value in beef heifers.” While in his MSc program, Cameron met Rosie Dwight. Cameron and Rosie were married in December 2018 in Grace Bible Church, the church they attended as students in College Station, TX.

Currently, Cameron is midway through his PhD at the University of Alberta. His work concerns the genetic improvement of fertility traits in beef cows under differing environments. As a student, Cameron served as the VP-Finance for the Agricultural, Food & Nutrition Science Graduate Student Association, and has travelled to the World Farmers’ Organisation meetings in Berlin, and has presented his research at the Canadian Society of Animal Science conference in Austin, TX and the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in Calgary. He was recently selected as the Western Canadian Graduate Student Ambassador for the Canadian Society of Animal Science. After graduation, he plans to enter the beef industry as a consultant to help producers improve production practices throughout the production chain. Outside of academia, Cameron serves as the president of the Alberta Limousin Association; he and Rosie have recently returned to the farm, where they assist with the cattle.

Cassandra Demars


Cassandra is third generation on her family’s commercial cow/calf operation near Webb, SK. The DeMars’ Ranch focuses heavily on native pasture management and the importance of preserving the eco-system of the Sandhills which is home to the herd. From a young age Cassandra has been involved with the family operation, such as checking cows at calving time, feeding, and assisting in the overall animal health plan of the herd. Her passion for the beef industry led her to pursue a BSc in Animal Science from the University of Saskatchewan. There she was able to further expand her knowledge of livestock production as well as focus on business management and marketing. During her tenure of study, she gained valuable experience working at the U of S Dairy Facility, and in the summer months as a Forage Research Student with the Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre (SPARC), and as a Assistant Relationship Manager Summer Student with Farm Credit Canada. These opportunities have given Cassandra a ‘big picture’ view of the industry.

After completion of her degree, Cassandra moved back to Southwest Saskatchewan to work on the ranch while her father was recovering from injury. He has since returned to ranching full time and Cassandra has moved into her current role as a Relationship Manager with Farm Credit Canada in Lloydminster, SK. There she enjoys working with customers to help them understand and reach their operations goals as well as support the Canadian agriculture industry. Cassandra is always looking for opportunities to promote the beef industry and is a volunteer for the Classroom Agriculture Program and has spoken on behalf of Ag More Than Ever at local agriculture events. She is still actively involved in her family’s cattle operation and eventually would like to move back to the ranch full time.

Cassandra is very excited to be a finalist for the CYL program and is hoping to learn more about producer representation in parliament, industry, and media. She is also looking forward to applying what she learns in the program to her current role at FCC and on her family’s ranch.

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Cody Adams


Cody has been raised on cattle since a very young age. His family owns and operates 6A Cattle Co. a cattle feeding operation in the heart of feedlot alley outside of Picture Butte, Alberta. The operation feeds 5500 to 10000 head of custom cattle on a yearly basis and also have a herd of 130 cow calf pairs. The feed yard is primarily a finishing lot but they background calves for customers as well. The cattle operation takes great pride in herd health and cattle performance. These are two very key areas that has made the cattle operation successful and has made his father Lyle Adams a very reputable producer in the industry.

A member of beef 4-H for 6 years Cody raised and showed market steers and took that passion on to work with a couple purebred cattle producers doing the same attending both Farm Fair International and Agribition. Cody attended the Lethbridge College studying Agricultural Sciences and graduated with a diploma in animal science. The previous knowledge of growing up around cattle was a big asset in school, but he says aside of what was learnt in school the industry is always changing and as producers we’re always learning. In the last year Cody took a step out on his own and developed his own operation. With the development of BAR A CATTLE CO. Purchasing just 24 black and red angus cows he’s happy to have something of his own with plans to rapidly expand overtime.

Having life long experience in the production side of the industry Cody’s turning his focus to the business end. Being able to understand the business credentials gives producers the edge for success. He plans to focus on management, finance, marketing, government policies, and accounting procedures. Cody’s very grateful for the opportunity to be a finalist in the CYL program and looks forward for what’s to come. He feels this is the start of a big platform for us young producers to network, learn, and be a part of industry committees that shape the future.

Ethan David


Ethan was raised on a mixed farm and ranch operation in southwest Saskatchewan near Eastend. He attended the university of Saskatchewan where he studied agronomy and animal science.Ethan has returned home after his education to the farm where he works along side his family.Ethan also is working towards developing his own Ag consultation company.

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Kaitlin McLachlan


Kaitlin was raised on her family cow/calf and backgrounding operation on the banks of the mighty Peace River near Fairview. Her parents gifted her first bred heifer at 6 years old, and the passion for the industry started the day that heifer had her first calf. She was an active member in the local 4-H club, where she still volunteers where she can. In 2013, she completed her post-secondary education at Lakeland College in Vermillion AB obtaining a diploma in Agri-Business.

After returning to the Peace, she became involved with Peace Country Beef & Forage Association, a non-for-profit, producer led, applied research and extension association based in the Alberta Peace. Through her involvement, she discovered the world of regenerative agriculture and soil health. She went through a paradigm shift in the way she thinks about the soil and its role in production agriculture. She went from a ‘Cow Nerd’ to a ‘Soil Nerd’, advocating for the adoption of regenerative practices such as; growing cocktail cover crops, intercropping, managed grazing, and incorporating cattle into cash crop rotations. Kaitlin can talk about soil all day long, and is very passionate about the research being done in various parts of the world in regards to grazing cattle to build soil biology and sequester atmospheric carbon. #cowssavetheplanet

Kaitlin currently ranches part-time with her older brother Allan and mother Valerie on their family farm, M4 Ranch Ltd, and works full time as the Environmental & Communications Coordinator for Peace Country Beef & Forage Association. Kaitlin is very excited and honored to be selected to participate in the CYL program, and is looking forward to the opportunities that the coming year has in store!

Hayley Scott


Haley grew up on a commercial cow-calf farm west of Lacombe, AB. She was a long-time 4-H member, and especially enjoyed the livestock judging and horsemanship projects. Haley completed her undergraduate studies in animal science at the University of Saskatchewan in 2015, and her Master of Science at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017. Returning to Lacombe in 2018, she began her career as a research technician in meat and carcass quality with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She also recently completed her beef grading certification with the Canadian Beef Grading Agency, and provides beef grading services for the research carcasses. While her background and education focused on the cattle production side of the industry, her position in meat quality and food safety has presented many opportunities to learn about food production, and how the two sides of the industry depend on each other for success.

Haley has also been involved in the sport of ringette for nearly 20 years as a player, coach and official, and spends many winter weekends travelling across Western Canada to play and ref in ringette tournaments. When she is not at the rink, she spends many hours with her two horses and three dogs. She still loves to spend as much time as possible in the saddle, and more recently behind the harness teaching horses to drive.

Haley is excited about the CYL program, and is looking forward to learning more about beef marketing and promotion, and how the industry produces beef for specific markets.

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Kate Barnett


Kate was raised on a commercial cow/calf operation near Williams Lake, British Columbia. Her love for cattle developed early as she enjoyed checking cows with her family, raising bottle babies and selecting replacement heifers, as well as helping her Dad with the day to day operations. Kate joined 4-H at the age of six, she was a member for 13 years showing every type of beef project possible. At the age of 15, she began to build her own commercial Red Angus herd and was able to show them in 4-H and at fall fairs. Last year she completed a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from the University of Saskatchewan, majoring in Agriculture Business. At university, Kate realized her passion for marketing and developed a particular interest in the process of cattle marketing and analyzed the benefits/drawbacks of different strategies that are used.

Kate currently works for RBC in Yorkton, Saskatchewan as a Business Account Manager, specializing in Agriculture. Although she is not actively ranching, she still owns a small herd of cows at her back home and hopes to be more actively ranching soon. In her free time, Kate enjoys judging, helping out with local 4-H clubs and an active producer in the Canadian Cattle industry.

Kate is excited to be a part of a well recognized mentorship program and looks forward to making connections with her mentors and fellow mentees!

Kathleen Holweger


Kathleen was raised on a mixed farm near Killarney, Manitoba, where she has been actively involved in her family’s farm along with her parents and three brothers since a young age. Throughout high school, Kathleen was involved in the local 4-H program which fuelled her decision to pursue a higher education that explored her passion for the beef industry. In 2016, Kathleen completed a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture majoring in Animal Science at the University of Saskatchewan. After taking some time off to work, Kathleen decided to return to the U of S to pursue a degree in Agribusiness and Field Crop Production which she will complete in the Spring of 2020. Kathleen recently spent the summer working for Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives Inc. where she enjoyed being able to put her education to use while she also helped out on her family farm. She hopes to return to close proximity of Killarney after finishing university to be closer to her family.

Through her mentorship with the CYL program, Kathleen hopes to learn more about mixed farming as well as further explore her keen interest in beef cattle nutrition and herd health. Kathleen is also excited about the connections she will make in the beef industry throughout the upcoming year with CYL.

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Kimberly Lansdall


Kimberly was raised on a mixed farm near Hodgeville, SK, where she grew up immersed in agriculture. It was throughout this influence that her work ethic, passion for livestock and love of rangelands flourished. An active member of 4-H growing up she enjoyed all the opportunities and lessons learned during this time. A highlight was partaking in a 4-H student exchange with another 4-H group in Ontario. Kimberly attended Lion’s leadership camps in Waterton, AB and Bismark, ND where she gained important skills and had the opportunity to meet and learn from local and international students.

After high school she entered the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan where she gained a Bachelor of Science majoring in Plant Science (concentration in rangeland management) with a minor in Animal Science. Kimberly was an active member on the U of S Range Team, competing in the URME (undergraduate range management exam) and attending a few Society for Range Management conferences. It was through her summers as a summer student working for the PFRA that she was exposed to the community pasture system; which only fostered her desire to learn about native plants, range health and pasture management.

Life after university found her working as an environmental consultant throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan. Working primarily as a vegetation ecologist, she has had the opportunity to see many different areas from the mountains of Alberta to the grasslands of southern Saskatchewan. A constant drive to learn has brought her to the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Program, which she is very excited to be apart of. Kimberly is looking forward to have the opportunity to learn from her mentor, fellow CYL mentees and to continue networking throughout industry.

Lacey Tillotson


Lacey grew up on a cow calf operation near Innisfree, AB. She was an avid 4-H member and her passion for animals lead her to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. She took animal science at the University of Alberta and later was accepted into the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon. She graduated with her doctor of veterinary medicine in 2012. Since then she has been working in mixed animal practice at the Viking Veterinary Clinic with a focus on bovine practice. She enjoys helping her clients improve their productivity and profitability with herd health and individual animal medicine.

In 2016 Lacey and her husband Tim took over the family ranch and began to grow their operation, Tillotson Land and Cattle. They are passionate about using sustainable grazing principles and maintaining high standards of animal health. Lacey entered the CYL program to make valuable industry connections in order to increase profitability and sustainability not only on her ranch but for her clients as well.

Lacey is very excited to be part of the CYL program and work with her mentor to get the most out of the program as well as make lasting friendships with fellow mentees and those she meets along the way.

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Robyn Unrau


Robyn Unrau was born and raised on a small cow-calf operation near Marquette, Manitoba. Her family cattle operation is composed of Black Angus and her family strives to keep their small herd happy and healthy. Robyn has always had a love for animals and a passion for the beef industry since the beginning. This has led her to obtaining her diploma in agriculture majoring in livestock production at the University of Manitoba.

Robyn frequently returns to her family farm to help out. Her and her sister are currently working on the succession planning for the farm and are working at slowly taking over management decisions. In recent years Robyn has had the opportunity to expand her experience on a larger scale cattle farm thanks to her boyfriend’s family by occasionally assisting with day to day operations. As well as gaining more hands-on involvement with different management methods she is grateful to have made this connection with another family who shares the same dedication to the industry.

Robyn is currently on the last term of her Animal Science Degree and plans to pursue a career in the beef industry upon graduation while growing her family farm. She is excited and grateful to be selected as a finalist for the CYL program and hopes to gain experience and knowledge to help her family farm as well meet more likeminded individuals within the beef industry.

Patricia Fawley


Patricia Fawley started her passion for agriculture while working on cattle operations in Northern Australia. It was there that she learned how to feed, brand, check water tanks, castrate and dehorn. Upon arrival back to Canada she decided to take her newfound love of cattle and turn it into a career. She enrolled at the University of Manitoba in the Agriculture- Animal Systems programs where she got to learn more in depth knowledge of the scientific skills needed to maintain cattle operations in Canada. During her time at university she took courses on biology, beef cattle management and animal reproduction. These courses gave her the knowledge needed that led her to her current position working with bovine embryo collection, transfer, IVF and semen collection. She loves the aspect that traditional farming coincides with scientific lab work to optimize genetics and increase performance found on farm. She is very excited about the opportunities that the CYL mentorship program will bring to expand her knowledge and connections within this amazing industry that is feeding Canada.

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Savannah Hodgkinson


Savannah is one of the 2019-2020 Cattlemen young leaders. She completed all of her primary school in Florida. She moved to Alberta in 2015 to attend college. After taking education courses she decided that business was what she was passionate about. She completed a business certificate at Olds College. After finishing her certificate she started working at Titan Land & Cattle doing bookkeeping. She has now taken on Titan Ag Finance completing applications and managing loans. She started a small cow calf herd and is currently working toward growing it.

Tamara Quaschnick


Tamara Quaschnick is a large animal veterinarian, practicing in east central Alberta. Raised on a commercial cow calf operation south of Hanna, Tamara has had a lifelong love of the beef industry and has experienced firsthand the challenges inherent to it. After graduating from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009, Tamara completed an internship in equine medicine and surgery at Idaho Equine Hospital. She spent some time in equine practice before returning to her hometown, establishing Steadfast Veterinary Services Ltd, in 2014. She currently splits her time between Hanna and Bashaw, where her and her husband, Darren Schultz, run a commercial Angus herd.

Tamara's professional ambitions are fueled by her desire to see her client's operations thrive. She enjoys working alongside producers to ensure that their herds are optimally efficient, sustainable, and humanely treated. She is excited to be part of the CYL program, and hopes to gain insight into livestock service business development and innovative ways to deliver those services.

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