Canadian Cattle Industry seeks Young Leaders

If you’re a bit disillusioned about farming, and need a pick-me-up, exchange the whiskey for this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcVpAs2FvMI (or do both!)

     I am always inspired by young farmers (or ranchers in this case) who are really excited to be part of agriculture. How many farmers tell their kids: “You’re crazy to want to farm!” In this video, three young Canadian producers join the Five Nations Beef Alliance’s Young Ranchers to tell their story: “Why we love the land, the cattle, and feeding the world.” Besides the three Canadians, there are youth from New Zealand, Australia, USA and Mexico. They assure us there is a future in farming – and inspire hope and joy.

Rosie Templeton is one of six young Albertans participating in the Cattleman's Young Leaders mentorship program.

Rosie Templeton is one of six young Albertans participating in the Cattleman's Young Leaders mentorship program.

     I found the video on the Cattleman’s Young Leaders website. The Canadian Cattleman’s Association piloted a mentorship program for young leaders in their industry this last year. Six Albertans between the ages of 18 and 35 were paired with industry leaders.

     The program offers two options. The industry mentorship “is tailored to active producers who exhibit leadership potential”. (www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com) Producers are matched with industry representatives in their area of interest, which could be animal health, international trade, marketing, research, environment, advocacy and/or policy development.

     A professional mentorship is geared towards pre, post and current college and university students who are pursuing a beef related profession. While on a media tour in the Olds area last September, I met Rosie Templeton. Rosie is in her first year at University of Alberta studying for a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, majoring in Agriculture Business Management.

     “She knows a lot of people in the Ag industry,” Rosie said of her mentor, Diane Finstad. Finstad is currently the Agriculture and Rodeo director for CKGY radio in Red Deer and a familiar voice to many Albertan farmers. “I want to get more into agriculture communications. She can introduce me to people; give me an idea of who I want to spend a day with.” Rosie, who is especially interested in communications between the consumer and producer, is very excited at the opportunities the mentorship program offers her.

Rosie, left, particpates in a media tour of Harvie Ranch, along with farm writers and her mentor Diane Finstad (not in picture).

Rosie, left, particpates in a media tour of Harvie Ranch, along with farm writers and her mentor Diane Finstad (not in picture).

     The first term of the program has been a success. Now the Cattleman’s Association is taking the program nationwide. They are looking for 16 young people between the ages of 18 and 35, who have a passion for the beef industry. Applications will be accepted to January 25, 2011 and mentorships will begin in April, lasting for eight months.

     Candidates who successfully complete their mentorship are eligible for the international mentorship program. Four young Albertans, including Rosie, will be taking part in the Denver Stockshow for a week in January, 2011. One highlight will be an evening with Temple Grandin. Another is a Roundtable event at the Canadian Consulate in Denver with other international youth, where our Albertans will do a presentation on the Canadian Cattle Industry.

     It all sounds pretty exciting – now, to be under 35…!

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