Cattlemen's Young Leaders

Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) is the flagship mentorship program of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) designed to develop future leaders in Canada’s beef industry. Each year, beef enthusiasts between the ages of 18 to 35 are given the opportunity to apply to the program which has graduated more than 100 young leaders since being established in 2010.

The year 2018 provided several opportunities for CYL’s and CYL alumni alike. As always, participants took part in annual trips, including the National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO.; CYL Spring Forum in Saskatoon, SK; Canadian Beef Industry Conference in London, ON, International Beef Alliance (IBA) in Calgary, AB and more. CYL also sent one graduate of the program to the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) conference in Kilkenny, Ireland


On the trip to Denver, the group of five CYL’s toured multiple stops, including JBS Greely, Leechman’s Cattle of Colorado, the University of Colorado Test Farm and more. They had the opportunity to engage with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) leadership, including now Past President, Craig Uden. The event also included a Canada/U.S. Barn Tour in the Denver Stock Yards at the National Western Stock Show.


A new trip offered to the group in 2018 was the World Braford and Brangus Congresses in Houston, TX. Two CYL’s took in the event, touring Brangus operations in Houston, San Antonio, and Fort Worth. CYL’s gained a new perspective on global beef production, by engaging with producers from around the world attending the congress. They also caught a glimpse into the world of Bos Indicus cattle (draft breeds like Brahma, Cebu) used for beef production in arid regions in the U.S. and Australia, which differ from Canada’s Bos Taurus beef.


The CYL Spring Forum also took a bit of a different form in 2018. In addition to the usual business training and industry tours, the spring forum also included live cattle handing and product use workshops. Stockmanship guru Curt Pate joined the group and shared his expertise on cattle handling, while CYL Foundation Sponsors, UFA and Zoetis, provided product training on antibiotics, vaccines and implants. The group learned a great deal about the industry from multiple perspectives, while having the opportunity to engage with program sponsors.


Carley Henniger was the CYL representative to the IBA for 2018. The IBA conference took place in Canada and Henniger was an excellent representative for the program, and for young producers across Canada. She was joined by the Young Cattlemen’s Council (YCC) representative, Andrea Haywood Farmer.


CYL Ben Wilson represented young producers from Canada at the GRSB in Ireland in 2018. CCA Executive Vice President, Dennis Laycraft had challenged the other countries to bring a young representative to the event and Canada was happy to oblige. The trip provided an opportunity for Wilson to learn more about global production practices, sustainability initiatives and the challenges the beef industry faces on a global scale.


In 2018, CYL submitted an application to the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The application outlined a post secondary based succession planning school that will bring together industry stakeholders and partners. The program is intended to create succession planning success stories to empower young producers to take succession planning into their own hands. As of December, 2018, the application is still in review.




Multiple CYL’s were also in attendance at the CCA annual general meeting in Ottawa. Prior to the meeting, CYL’s Henniger joined the YCC on its first official Lobbying Fly-In. She had the opportunity to meet with multiple MP’s to discuss important issues facing Canadian cattle producers. The youthful perspective was extremely well received by MP’s from all parties, and the experience for the group was educational and inspiring.


In August, the CYL program announced its’ 15 selected mentees and mentors for the 2018 program year. The mentees and mentors are as follows:

  • Melissa Downing (Kim McConnell),
  • Raina Syrnyk (Farrah Williams),
  • Allana Minchau (Cherie Copithorne-Barnes),
  • Annessa Good (Dr. Jude Capper),
  • Tyler Fewings (Scott Dickson),
  • Megan Clifton (Rick Porter),
  • Travis Page (Dr. Holt Tripp)
  • Melissa Van Sickle (Dr. John Crowley),
  • Bree Patterson (Sandy Russell),
  • Amy Higgins (Kerry Wright),
  • Dean Sentes (Doug and Judy Finseth),
  • Leonard Retzlaff (George Graham),
  • Jacqueline Toews (Aaron Grant),
  • Jessica Giles (Dianne Finstad)
  • Jordan Dahmer (Tom Teichroeb).

We are very excited to see where each of these parings go over the course of the year. The CYL program looks forward to expanding the program and creating more young leaders for the Canadian beef industry. With a focus on youth development and engagement, CYL continues to work alongside industry partners and stakeholders to build a strong foundation of future beef producers.


Funding for the CYL program is made available through its Foundation Partners: UFA Co-operative Ltd., Cargill, MNP and McDonald’s Canada. The program also receives support from Gold Sponsors Farm Credit Canada and New Holland.



Young Cattlement’s Council


The Young Cattlemen’s Council (YCC) is a youth subsidiary board of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), designed to provide participants with further training and experience in leadership, governance, and advocacy. YCC provides young producers with the opportunity to engage with the leadership of CCA and learn the inner functioning of the organization.

The year 2018 provided many successful ventures for the YCC. Lead by President, Shane Klepak (SK), and Vice President, Julien Collette (Maritimes), the board was made up of provincial representatives, Andrea Haywood-Farmer (BC), Kolton Kasur (AB), Dean Sentes (SK), Brett McRae (MB) Heather Hargrave (ON), and members at large Ben Campbell (AB), and Ryan Scorgie (BC). YCC representative McRae joined a group from the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) program on its annual trip to the National Western Stock Show and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Young Leader Roundtable in Denver CO. The event provided the representatives opportunity to network with young producers from the U.S. and NCBA leadership, all while touring the agriculture industry in Colorado. NCBA then President Craig Uden, was among the leadership and McRae welcomed the opportunity to engage with and learn from him. YCC also undertook a large project this year of surveying their membership on what is truly important to young producers. A month-long survey received 217 responses from young producers across the country. Compiled results are available in a report format upon request. The board intends to take these results and use the information to better voice the needs and concerns of young beef producers across Canada when representing them at the CCA table. YCC delegates Hargrave and Haywood-Farmer, who were joined by CYL Carley Henniger, participated in YCC’s first ever fly in to meet with Members of Parliament (MPs) in Ottawa. Hargrave and Haywood-Farmer did an outstanding job conveying the concerns of established producers and new entrants to MPs from all parties. Their perspectives were well received by the MPs and their staff. YCC’s annual general meeting (AGM) again took place at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference, this time in London, ON. Elections for two member-at-large positions were held: Ricky Seelhof (BC) and Cody Krenz (MB) were elected to replace Shane Klepak (SK) and Ryan Scorgie (BC). New provincial representatives also stepped into their new roles during the AGM. Kayla Weston (AB), Stefan Bouw (MB) and Geoffrey Larkin (Maritimes) were all welcomed to the Council. The AGM featured an excellent and timely presentation on the importance of succession planning from Darrel Wade. He shared his experience of going through the process with his family’s farm and how he uses that experience today in his career as a succession and financial planner. This presentation was sponsored by the Beef Farmers of Ontario and received positive reviews from the meeting’s attendees. The YCC is made possible through the support of the provincial organizations, British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association, Alberta Beef Producers, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association, Manitoba Beef Producers, Beef Farmers of Ontario, Nova Scotia Cattlemen’s Association, New Brunswick Beef Producers, and Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers. It is also sponsored by New Holland Agriculture.

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