Video celebrates 10 Years of the CYL Program

The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders  (CYL) Mentorship Program is celebrating its 10th Anniversary! Since established in 2010, this flagship mentorship program of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association has seen over 120 graduates who have been mentored by an industry leader and have taken advantage of unique networking and travel opportunities for professional and personal growth.

To celebrate this exciting milestone, we’re looking back on the last decade of the program with stories from participants, mentors, sponsors and more. The following video presentation was unveiled at the virtual Canadian Beef Industry Conference on August 11, 2020 during the CYL Program 10th Anniversary Celebration.


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Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) Mentorship Program announces 2020 finalists

August 18, 2020

Calgary, AB – The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) Mentorship Program, a national youth initiative of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), is pleased to announce the 16 finalists for the 2020-2021 program year.

The final selection took place through a virtual event held on August 10, 2020, where 24 semi-finalists from across Canada competed for a spot in the CYL program through judged roundtable discussions. The finalists will be awarded a $2,000 travel budget and be paired with a hand-picked industry leader for a nine-month mentorship in their specific area of interest.

Through the virtual selections event, the semi-finalists participated in roundtable discussions by breaking off into smaller virtual meetings each facilitated and judged by CYL Foundation Partners, Cargill, McDonald’s Canada and MNP, and Gold Sponsors, Farm Credit Canada and New Holland. They participated in thought provoking discussions about timely topics in the beef industry such as the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainability, adopting precision agriculture technology, financial and operational metrics, increasing beef consumption, and more. Congratulations to all the semi-finalists who attended the virtual selections and did a tremendous job showcasing their knowledge and passion for the Canadian beef industry. The CYL Program is also grateful for the continuous support of Foundation Partner, Zoetis.

The 2020 finalists in no particular order are:

  • British Columbia: Andrea van Iterson (Westwold), and Laura Code (Vernon)
  • Alberta: Aydon Almberg (Czar), Iva Harberg (Hay Lakes), Claye Harsany (High River), Dave Slingerland (Coaldale), Mackenzie Argent (Cremona), Katie-Jo Stehr (Lethbridge) and Kaylee Chizawsky (Edmonton)
  • Saskatchewan: Scott Gerbrandt (Swift Current) and Matt Hildebrandt (Rosthern)
  • Manitoba: Sarah Jensen (Arborg) and Laura Plett (Stead)
  • Ontario: Charlene Yungblut (Thorold) and Grace Kuhl (Keady)
  • Prince Edward Island: Greg Stavert (Freetown)

The 2020-2021 program year will have a slightly different look as the 2020 finalists will be joining the 2019 CYL program participants whose time in the program has been extended by one year due to COVID-19. We look forward to the additional opportunities this will provide CYLs to connect with like-minded young people from across Canada passionate about the success of the beef industry.

Read more: 2019 Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program year extended

This year also marks the 10-year anniversary of the CYL Program which has seen over 120 graduates since the program was founded in 2010. A special anniversary celebration was hosted at the virtual Canadian Beef Industry Conference on August 11, 2020.

About the CYL Program

The CYL Program is a national initiative of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association which provides young people ages 18-35 with industry specific training and mentorship opportunities. Through networking, travel and mentorship, participants are equipped with the skills they need to further the success of the Canadian beef industry in the future.

For further information, please contact:
Jessica Giles
Youth Leadership Coordinator
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association | 403-336-2146


PDF Version- 2020.08.18_News-Release_2020-CYL-Finalists_FINAL

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Welcome to the CYL Blog

Hello, We plan to share highlights from the CYL program with you. Please visit us from time to time.

Thank you, Jill

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Houston? No Problem!

If you ever get the chance to attend the International Livestock Congress in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, rest assured you are in for a treat! I had this wonderful opportunity through my CYL Mentorship in early March.

The International Livestock Congress 2017 Conference topic of ‘Balancing Livestock and Water Use For Sustainable Nutrition’ was a great fit with learning new ways to enhance the sustainability of my own operation, one of my mentorship objectives. What an excellent opportunity to broaden my scope of global water and food supply issues and how it relates back to livestock production, not only for the US and the rest of the world but here in Canada as well. A few key topics of discussion included research and innovation of water conserving technologies, maintenance and development of water infrastructure, meeting the increasing global food supply demand, awareness of nutrition and water deficiencies in the development of babies around the world and the economic benefits of countries who are food, water and energy sufficient. It was exciting to see common interests and concerns shared by farmers and Ag students from South America to Africa to Australia to Middle Eastern countries and back to North America and also the efforts being made globally towards more responsible and sustainable water use in food production. It was also interesting to note that Canada is on the leading edge of this with the CRSB and GRSB initiatives.

I was thrilled to bump into fellow CYL participant, Maddy Knodel, who was one of the ILC student travel fellowship recipients along with two other Canadian ladies, Breanna Anderson and Katelyn Stehr. It was great to see Canada so well represented. Congratulations to these three lovely ladies!

On the livestock show side of things, I was lucky enough to take in a few of the different breed showcases. The Angus show, while small in numbers compared to some of the other breeds, had quality cattle that were second to none. And again, being this distance from home it was cool to see the Canadian contingent place in the top. I have to say though, that the Brahman bull and females shows spanning two whole days, were my absolute favorite! There were rows upon rows of these beautiful beasts from weeks old calves aside their momma’s right up to the huge mature sires. As you can imagine, with this being the American Brahman Breeders Association International Show, it is highly prestigious and draws huge numbers of breeders from all over North, Central and South America. It was the perfect place to meet some of the top breeders and learn about the finer points of breed itself.

Mona at teh Red Brahman Show

And of course no trip to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo would be complete without an evening spent at Rodeo Houston. I was fortunate that the nice ladies on the International committee arranged for me to ride in the Grand Entry. It was a fantastic way to get a first-hand look at the rodeo setup at NRG Stadium and truly appreciate the size of that huge arena floor. The rodeo itself was filled with top-notch competition and the concert afterwards was spectacular.

Aside from all that fun, it was nice to leave behind the snowbanks for a few days and see some green grass and warm temperatures!

Mona Howe

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CYL’s Enjoy NCBA

Through the CYL program I had the opportunity to attend the NCBA convention in Nashville at the start of February. I had heard nothing but great things about the convention especially when it is held in Nashville but everything about it still blew me away.

For starters the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center was a spectacle of its own and was the part I was the least prepared for as my image of big didn’t even come close to its actual size. However, when you factor in that there were 8-9000 people attending the conference all in one building it seems a lot more reasonable.

The speakers at the conference were also worth the trip. We heard from a Mt Everest survivor, a media advisor to George Bush, Cattlefax outlooks, and more. Every one of these speakers provided tremendous insight and were great to listen to. This was one of the things that I found the most different than the conferences I’m used to attending is that they focused on a couple major speakers each day rather than having more shorter speakers or breakout sessions throughout the day.

It was also nice to have such a strong contingency of Canadians at the conference including fellow CYL’ers Nicole Viste and Jessica Sperber. Having them as well as past CYL members along with all the other people that I got to reacquaint with or met made the trip fun and educational as I was able to learn a lot from everyone that I got to visit with. Being there with CYL also opened the doors to a lot of cool sessions including. These sessions included the trilateral meeting as well as several Young Beef Leaders Events all of which were certainly worth being a part of. I’m grateful for the opportunities this CYL program provides.

As enjoyable and as beneficial as the conference was, I certainly am interested in attending more in the future. I certainly encourage others to do so as well. I also hope to be able to return to Nashville in the future as the whole city has a cool vibe to it. The Grand Ole Opry is one of few things that could keep me sitting on an old wood bench for hours on end-it was something special for sure.

I want to thank all the sponsors that make the CYL Program able to function the way it does by allowing us to be a part of such a great convention. I know personally this opportunity greatly helps expand my knowledge and network base in the industry and will help me to be more successful now and in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Nashville for the NCBA conference and I look forward to applying what I learned and attending in the future.

Luke Marshall

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Mel Hermanson at Ranching for Profit

On the 14th of January my Husband Russell and I drove down to Billings, Montana to attend the Ranching for Profit course. This course was in line with the mentorship objectives I set with my mentor Graeme Finn. We decided that it would be beneficial if both Russell and I went down so we could align our goals and objectives for our cattle operation. We were able to utilize growing forward 2 funding through the Business Management Skills development program to help attend the course and I was also able to utilize a portion of my CYL mentorship budget which was a massive help.

The course started on Sunday the 15th of January and was run by Dallas Mount and Dave Pratt. Right away Russell and I were separated and put on a table of people we hadn’t met before. The logic that being separated we would be exposed to more ideas and take in different things which we could collaborate at the end of each night, share our own findings and have healthy, structural (but sometimes argumentative) discussions. The course was very intense and including doing homework every night in preparation for the next day of class. So if you think there might be some time for a little bit of sightseeing in the evenings like I thought, you would be wrong but it’s worth every penny.

The ranching for profit school is a business school for the livestock industry. Russell and I went down to the school with an open mind, we liked what we saw on the course outline and we are at a stage of our business where we wanted to move forward on the right foot. The course doesn’t give you a step by step plan to make a profit, it gives you the tools in your rancher’s toolbox for you to be able to make better (profitable) decisions for your business. I have a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness, so I thought I would take more away from the grazing side of the course than the economics and finance side. I was completely wrong, I learned more tools to apply to my business during in those 6 days than I did during my years of university.
I can honestly say the course was a life changing experience for me. Russell and I went into the course with paradigms that we had unconsciously set for ourselves and our business and we walked away really challenging these paradigms. And we didn’t just challenge the paradigms, but we could also see solutions that we haven’t been able to see before and a way to move forward to be more sustainable, and that really excited us. There is a lot of great information available in our industry however, it can be difficult to put it all together and that’s where this course really helps you join the dots. Russell and I had so many “Wow”, “light bulb” or “A-Ha” moments during this course it was incredible. We each walked away with a list of action items that we wanted to pursue and feeling really excited about our future in the beef industry.
Thank you to CYL, GF2 and Chinook Financial for giving me the support and opportunity to attend this life changing course.

Mel Hermanson

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Mentor Meetings Are Well Underway!

On January seventh, I made the trip from Lethbridge to Jumping Pound Alberta, where I met my CYL mentor Ryan Copithorne, for the first time. It was a beautiful crisp day and as I drove into Ryan’s ranch, I saw ranch hands feeding cattle out in the fields. I met with Ryan in the ranch office, a former bunkhouse, full of western artwork and antiques. I soon found Ryan to be very personable and very knowledgeable. He had a lot of insight in the beef industry and had some unique perspectives.

Previously, we had outlined five main objectives to address during my mentorship. The first and main objective we covered during my visit was to create a personal mission statement. This involved answering a series of thought-provoking questions such as “What do you see as personal strengths and weaknesses relating to the career path you are pursuing?” As well, we discussed at length my future ambitions, and how to set immediate achievable goals to work towards realizing those ambitions. I found this exercise to be very helpful as it organized my thoughts, and allowed me to see the necessary steps to achieve my goals.

We also discussed some marketing and risk management topics such as livestock insurance and hedging, which were also mentorship objectives. I could tell Ryan was very passionate about these topics which reflects why his company,

Cows In Control, is so successful. By the end of our meeting, my head was swimming with information, but we made an enormous amount of progress. I am really looking forward to our next visit and addressing the remaining objectives.

Maddy Knodel


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2016-2017 Upcoming Events

Event(s) Date(s) Location
Global Round Table for Sustainable Beef (GRSB)

October 4-7, 2016 Banff
Traceability Symposium 2016

November 2-3, 2016 Calgary
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair November 3-7, 2016 Toronto
World Meat Congress November 7-9, 2016 Uruguay
BEEFTECH, before FarmFair November 7-9, 2016 


Cow-Calf Economics Alberta 

Topics this year will include:

Market Outlook and your marketing options

Transition Planning – The Human Aspect

Risk Management Perspectives

Cost of Production – Do you know yours?

7 drives to Financial Success

What does your Neighbor Think? –A Beef Producer’s Perspectives

November 1, 2016  – Nanton, Nanton Community Center 

November 2, 2016 –Lethbridge, Country Kitchen Catering (in the same building as the Key on Mayor Magrath Drive)

November 3, 2016 –Olds, Olds College Alumni Centre

November 8, 2016 – Vermilion, Vermilion Regional Centre

November 9, 20165 –Evansburg, Royal Canadian Legion

Farmfair International November 2-6, 2016 Edmonton
Ag Excellence Conference  

Farm Management Canada

November 22-24, 2016 Calgary
Beef Value Chain Round Table (BVCRT), invite only, if interested. Indicate and we will follow up. November 30-December 1, 2016 Ottawa or Mississauga
Farm Credit Canada Events 

The FCC Forums – inspiring, motivational events;  FREE to register

Various London, ON – Dec.6  (Clara Hughes, Rex Murphy, Bruce Sellery) 

Red Deer – Dec.9 (Clara Hughes, Rex Murphy, Bruce Sellery)

Winnipeg – Feb.28 (Clara Hughes, Rex Murphy)

Moncton – Mar.11  (Clara Hughes, Rex Murphy, Bruce Sellery)

Can-US Round Table @ NWSS January 11-14, 2017 Denver, Colorado
CCA TownHalls TBD January 23rd , 2017 Manitoba and Ontario
Provincial Association AGM’s December 2016-March 2017 BCCA, ABP, SCA, MBP,BFO, Maritimes
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) 

Tri-lateral meeting and YBL’s meeting

January 31-February 4, 2017 Nashville, Tennessee
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association AGM Early March Ottawa
International Livestock Congress – Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Early March Houston, TX
Agri Benchmarking Beef and Lamb Conference June 17-23, 2017 Saskatoon, SK


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International Beef Alliance Conference 2016

Taupo, New Zealand
Ellen Crane

Maori carvings on Lake Taupo captured during the fishing trip.

The International Beef Alliance (IBA) is comprised of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United States, which represents 46% of global beef cattle production and 63% of global beef exports. This year, the organization met in Taupo, New Zealand, this beautiful country provided a picturesque agricultural backdrop for the conference. The conference was kicked off on Sunday with introduction presentations by the eight Young Leaders from Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States.


Pasture environments created to measure nitrogen output by the production system

Pasture environments created to measure nitrogen output by the production system

On Monday, the Young Leaders met to present their findings on the special topic: How the IBA can connect with ‘Millennials’ to gain support for the Alliance. The team split into the focus groups for animal welfare, sustainability and beef attributes. The group then reconvened to put together a group presentation to be delivered during the general session. The afternoon was followed with a fishing trip on Lake Taupo and official welcome by the Maori tribe.

Tuesday was the first day of local farm visits which began at Glen Emmerth Farms owned by Mike and Sharon Barton. The couple spearheaded the environmentally sustainable brand ‘Taupo Beef’, whose demand is currently exceeding its supply.

Pasture fed feeder cattle part of the Taupo Beef brand.

Along with other farmers in the Lake Taupo catchment (watershed), the farm is also home to a research laboratory studying the total nitrogen output of the operation. The second tour of the day included the Moerangi and Oraukura Station, managed by Barry and Celia Pope. The operation is focused on the integration of sheep and beef at elevations as high as 880m above sea level. We were fortunate to be present during the shearing of the flock. The tour of the woolshed in high production was a fantastic opportunity for the large group of beef producers.


On Wednesday, the group was hosted by John and Catherine Ford at the Highlands Station. The operation focuses on traceability and dairy beef production which sources bull calves from dairy operations to raise as bull beef. The afternoon included a panel discussion on the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) on three key beef and lamb industry initiatives: RMPP, “New Zealand Story”, and New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme.

Outstanding views from the Highland Station overlooking some of the stations 1240 hectares.

Traditional “Hangi” prepared using hot stones placed underground for six hours

Day one of the general session gave the Young Leaders the opportunity to observe the Delegate presentations from each country and updates on topics including Non-Tariff Barriers, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Global Round Table for Sustainable Beef. Day two of the general session gave the Young Leaders the opportunity to present their findings on the special topic to the Delegates, and was followed by a round of questions. The conference was closed with a delicious, traditionally prepared Maori meal known as a “Hangi” in which beef, lamb and vegetables are placed on hot stones and broiled underground for several hours.


The IBA conference was a tremendous opportunity to network with international delegates. It was a privilege to attend the International Beef Alliance conference on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Young Leader program alongside the other Canadian Delegates. This conference was a truly memorable experience!


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Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Announces 2016 Mentorship Recipients

August 23, 2016

CYL News Release 8-23-16 CYL 2016 Mentorship Recipients (pdf)

Calgary, AB – The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) program is pleased to announce its 2016 national mentorship recipients. The 16 recipients were selected following the final selection round at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC), held in Calgary on August 9, 2016. A total of 23 semi-finalists vied for a spot in the national youth initiative of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).

The 2016 CYL mentorship recipients are:

  • British Columbia: Ryan Scorgie – Kamloops
  • Alberta: Becky Tees – Cochrane, Grayden Kay – Lloydminster, Jessica Sperber – Rimbey, Jesse Williams – Hanna, Katie Songer – Sylvan Lake, Luke Marshall – Innisfail, Madeleine Knodel – Seven Persons, Mel Hermanson – Hussar, Nicole Viste – Hanna
  • Saskatchewan: Kylie McRae – Kisbey, Mona Howe – Leader, Roxanne Olynyk – Regina
  • Manitoba: Kristy-Layne Carr – Marchand, Wilco van Meijl – Brandon
  • Ontario: Jason Hurst – Guelph

The CYL Selections at CBIC brought together the semi-finalists, current graduates, and industry leaders for a week of networking and learning. The event included the five-year reunion celebration of the CYL national launch, where over 60 alumni mentors and mentees gathered for the graduation of the current group and acknowledgement of the success of the program.
“Before the creation of the CBIC, CYL selections were held in the spring as a standalone event and with so many people attending the conference in August, it just made sense to combine the two” said Jill Harvie, CCA Programs Manager. “In the end, it was both a huge attribute to the conference and a considerable benefit to the semi-finalists and graduates. Between the speakers, sessions, and ample networking opportunities, these young cattlemen and women gained a lot from the experience, whether they were chosen as finalists or not. Many positive comments were also made by other CBIC delegates about the amount of young faces in the crowd and the strong representation by the future of Canadian beef.”
Congratulations to the 2016 recipients, who will soon be paired with an industry mentor to guide them over the next eight months. The CYL Program provides industry-specific training and mentorship opportunities to young producers. CYL participants have the opportunity to explore a potential career choice or involvement with a provincial/national producer organization, while gaining the expertise and business acumen necessary to sustain the cattle industry into the future.
Funding for the CYL Program is made available through its foundation partners, UFA Co-operative Ltd., the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), Cargill, and MNP. The program also receives support from Gold Sponsors Farm Credit Canada and New Holland.

For further information, contact:
Jill Harvie
Programs Manager
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
403-275-8558 x 316 |

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Cattlemen’s Young Leaders announce 2016 semifinalists

April 28, 2016

2016 CYL Semi Finalist Announcement (pdf)

Calgary, AB – The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) program, a national youth initiative of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), is pleased to announce the 24 semifinalists vying for 16 mentorship positions in the 2016 program year.

The semifinalists were selected from a pool of nearly 50 applicants. “We are thrilled to see another solid year of applicants to the CYL program,” says Jill Harvie, CCA Programs Manager. “CYL is now hitting its five-year milestone since inception and has grown into a well-established and comprehensive program. This year is particularly exciting as we are pleased to invite the 24 semifinalists to take in the new Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC), August 9-11, where they will vie for the 16 mentorship positions. Best of luck to all!”

The 24 semifinalists were selected based on their online applications, which were evaluated by a panel of judges. The finalists will be selected at the CYL Selections and Graduation event on August 9, 2016 in Calgary, AB, in conjunction with the CBIC. CYL semifinalists and graduates will be attending the CBIC conference that week, as well as the CYL 5 Year Milestone Event during the conference opening ceremonies.

The 2016 CYL semifinalists are:

  • British Columbia: Ryan Scorgie – Kamloops
  • Alberta: Becky Tees – Cochrane, Cale Toews – Beaverlodge, Grayden Kay – Lloydminster, Jessica Sperber – Rimbey, Jesse Williams – Hanna, Kaleen Harris – Lloydminster, Katie Songer – Sylvan Lake, Luke Marshall – Innisfail, Madeleine Knodel – Seven Persons, Mel Hermanson – Hussar, Morgan Klaiber – Seven Persons, Nicole Viste – Hanna
  • Saskatchewan: Kurtis Reid – Hepburn, Kylie McRae – Kisbey, Mona Howe – Leader, Quinn Anderson Folk – Fir Mountain, Roxanne Olynyk – Regina
  • Manitoba: Katelyn Stehr – Swan River, Kristy-Layne Carr – Marchand, Wilco van Meijl – Brandon
  • Ontario: Chloe Gresel – Erin, Jason Hurst – Guelph, Melissa Hurst – Durham

After final selection, CYL candidates will be paired with a mentor for a nine-month mentorship in their area of interest. In the past, the program has seen a wide range of focus areas. These range from production focusses such as extended grazing seasons, nutrition and embryo work to marketing and trade to industry policy to advocacy. The mentors are handpicked to best suit each individual CYL and set them up for a very successful and productive year. CYLs gain knowledge in their area of interest, exposure to the CCA and its provincial members, an expanded network and personal growth.
For further information, contact:
Jill Harvie
Programs Manager
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
403-275-8558 |

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