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Inside image by Christian Heckle, Prairie Rose Photography
August 10, 2021 Checking in with ABP

A virtual twist on mentorship and leadership opportunities

Over the past year, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association  (CCA) has shifted much of its programming to a virtual format  to continue to offer unique career development opportunities  to the next generation of beef industry leaders.

The CCA Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) Mentorship Program was established in 2010 as a national initiative open to young people ages 18-35 involved in all aspects of the beef supply chain. In 10 plus years of operation, it has seen over 120 graduates. Each year, 16 participants are selected and paired with hand-picked industry  leaders for a nine-month mentorship opportunity in the participant’s specific area of interest in the industry, such  as grazing management, public trust, livestock handling and welfare, industry policy and much more. Participants  also receive $2,000 to use towards learning opportunities of their choice, and traditionally take advantage of  national and international travel opportunities. 

Whether connecting with their mentors virtually, using their allocated funds towards online training sessions and conferences, or finding opportunities to remain in contact with fellow CYLs, these young leaders have adapted to the changing landscape of COVID-19 by continuing to make the most of program opportunities that have shifted to a virtual format. 

In June 2020, the 2019-20 class of CYLs had their time in the program extended another year to graduate with  incoming participants, as COVID-19 significantly limited their networking and travel opportunities. This means there are currently two groups of CYL participants in the program set to graduate this August.

The CYL Mentorship Program is pleased to see strong representation and interest from young Albertans each year, with current CYL participants from the province as follows:

Aydon Almberg (Czar), Broek Murray (Picture Butte), Cameron Olson (Rocky View County), Claye Harsany (High River), Cody Adams (Picture Butte), Dave Slingerland (Coaldale), Haley Scott (Lacombe), Iva Harberg (Hay Lakes), Kaitlin McLachlan (Fairview), Katie-Jo Stehr (Lethbridge), Kaylee Chizawsky (Edmonton), Lacey Tillotson (Innisfree), Mackenzie Argent (Cremona),  Savannah Hodgkinson (Niton Junction) and Tamara Quaschnick (Bashaw).

A webinar series was created for the young leaders to connect and learn from program sponsors, with topics covering precision agriculture technology applications in forage equipment, herd health protocols, succession planning, government relations, business risk management tools, nutrition and antibiotic stewardship, and what to know when meeting with your banker. Participants have also had the opportunity to connect via Zoom with researchers from the Beef Cattle Research Council’s Researcher Mentorship Program who study cattle, beef, genetics, feed or forage production. The sessions allowed participants from both programs to learn from each other and create meaningful industry contacts.

CYL applications are open annually from the beginning of January to the end of March. The 24 semi-finalists for the 2021-22 program year, selected from the submitted applications, were announced in June and are competing for one of 16 spots in the program this month. 

You can learn more about CYL participants and their industry mentors by visiting the participant spotlight page at www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com.

This article was originally published in the May 2021 edition of ABP Magazine. It has been edited to include recent news and announcements from CYL. Keep an eye on ABP Daily to see more content from the magazine, and update your contact information to receive the next issue.

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