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Program graduates received their certificates from mentors who were in attendance at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference. (Supplied)
November 7, 2023 Checking in with ABP

Canadian Cattle Young Leaders program celebrates graduates

By Julie Sharp

On August 15, 2023, the Canadian Cattle Association’s (CCA) Canadian Cattle Young Leaders (CYL) program highlighted its impressive graduates as they crossed the stage to be recognized at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC) in Calgary, Alberta.

The Canadian CYL Program welcomes young people, ages 18-35 across Canada, involved in various aspects of the beef supply chain. Through mentorship, networking, and travel, the Canadian CYL Program acts as an industry succession planning tool to equip the next generation of leaders with the skills and tools they need to drive the continued growth and profitability of the Canadian beef industry.

Throughout the program year, graduates worked with a mentor in their specific area of interest in the Canadian beef industry for a nine-month period. They were also granted a $2,000 budget to put towards travel to see their mentor and take in various industry events and learning opportunities. In addition, graduates completed several outlined program requirements such as the Verified Beef Production Plus Training and the Beef Advocacy Canada course.

This year’s group of graduating participants marks over 180 graduates from across Canada since the program was established in 2010.

At the graduation celebration, the Canadian Cattle Foundation also unveiled the Reg Schellenberg Next Generation Legacy Award to support the Canadian CYL Program. Each year, the award will honour a CYL graduate who embodies the same dedication, passion for the Canadian beef industry, and leadership qualities that the late CCA President, Reg Schellenberg did. The first recipient of the Reg Schellenberg Next Generation Legacy Award is Carling Matejka from Ponoka, AB.

Presentation of the Reg Schellenberg Next Generation Legacy Award.
(L-R) Chair of the Canadian Cattle Foundation, Bob Lowe, CCA Youth Leadership
Coordinator, Jessica Radau, Reg’s daughter, Stacey Schwartz, award recipient,
Carling Matejka, Reg’s wife, Shannon Schellenberg, Reg’s son, Coy Schellenberg,
and Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Chair, Keith Day. (Supplied)

This year’s Alberta CYL graduates are:

  • Austin Ashbacher (Arrowwood), mentored by Jeff and Lyndsay Smith
  • Carling Matejka (Ponoka), mentored by Amie Peck
  • Delanie Ferguson (Crossfield), mentored by Clinton Monchuk
  • Gleise Medeiros da Silva (Edmonton), mentored by Anne Wasko
  • Jill Renton (Cayley), mentored by Andrea Stroeve-Sawa
  • Nicky Nixdorff (Airdrie), mentored by Sheila Jensen
  • Russell Gallelli (Crossfield), mentored by Mike Panasiuk

We are also grateful for the contributions from previous CCA board member, Brad Osadczuk (Jenner), who mentored Raelynn Blumhagen, a young producer from Jaffray, BC, and Shylo Penrod with Rimrock Feeders in High River, AB, who mentored a student studying agricultural technology from Cartwright, MB, James Kinley.

The celebration also welcomed the 2023 CYL semi-finalists to the stage who attended the conference to participate in the annual CYL Selections competition that took place earlier in the day. Sixteen of the 24 competing semi-finalists will be awarded a spot as a finalist in the upcoming program year.

CCA’s Canadian CYL Program is made possible through the generous support of Platinum Partner, McDonald’s Canada, Foundation Partners Cargill, MNP, New Holland, and Elanco, and Gold Partners, Farm Credit Canada, Alltech, and RBC Future Launch.

This article was first published in Volume 3 Issue 3 of ABP Magazine (September 2023). Watch for more digital content from the magazine on ABP Daily.

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