Young Cattlemen’s Council (YCC)

The Young Cattlemen’s Council (YCC) is a cornerstone opportunity for young beef producers to engage in the higher levels of the beef industry. It was developed with the goal to act as a conduit of information for young beef producers across the country and exposes young cattlemen to the inner workings of the beef industry. The YCC board acts as a youth subsidiary of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), where board delegates participate as non-voting members on CCA committees.

2020 provided many opportunities for the Council to advocate on behalf of young beef producers and take advantage of training opportunities. From the beginning of the year until August 2020, the Council was led by President, Kayla Weston (AB), and Vice President, Geoffrey Larkin (Maritimes). The Council included other Provincial Representatives Ian Lauder (BC), Holly Thompson (SK), Stefan Bouw (MB), Evan Chaffe (ON), and Members at Large Ricky Seelhof (BC), Jessica Sperber (AB) and  Ethan David (SK).

In January 2020, YCC delegates Ricky Seelhof and Jessica Sperber joined a group from the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) Program for the annual National Western Stock Show trip to Denver, Colorado. The trip included industry tours at the Greely JBS Packing plant, Five Rivers Feeders and the Anheuser-Busch brewery and barley research centre, in addition to taking in the Denver stock show.

On March 10, 2020, YCC delegates participated in their third annual lobby day at Parliament Hill prior to the CCA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Ottawa held March 11-13, 2020. They met with several Members of Parliament to discuss issues of importance to the beef industry, such as front-of-package labelling, the importance of Livestock Price Insurance program for young producers, the environmental benefits of beef production and much more.

The Council also held their semi-annual meeting on March 12, 2020 during the CCA Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The Council remained active throughout the spring by assisting with CCA communications and lobbying efforts to bring awareness to the impacts COVID-19 on young producers. Activities included sending a letter to the federal government emphasizing the importance of improving and expanding the Livestock Price Insurance program, participating in CCA virtual lobbying meetings and creating a YCC video update for the CCA’s newly created virtual news roundup. YCC Vice President, Geoffrey Larkin, also participated in a special media event hosted by the CCA to highlight the challenges young producers are facing due to the impacts of COVID-19, where his story was highlighted in several news publications.

YCC Delegate, Holly Thompson, had the chance to connect with her MP, Andrew Scheer, along with YCC President, Kayla Weston, during the CCA’s AGM in Ottawa in March 2020.

YCC delegates participated in a board governance training series through a three-part webinar series from the end of April through May 2020. The series was taught by the owner of Building Up, Wendy Bulloch, which is a consulting firm based out of southern Manitoba. Delegates were able to learn more about the responsibility of board directors, various board models and how to run engaging and productive meetings.

The Council also launched a new website in May 2020 designed to connect young beef enthusiasts from across Canada. The Council looks forward to using the website as a conduit of information between industry and young beef producers.

The Council held their AGM virtually on August 6, 2020 in conjunction with the CCA semi-annual committee meetings. Virtual elections were held for a two-year member at large position in the days prior to the AGM. Carley Henniger (BC) was elected to fill the Member at Large position, replacing outgoing delegate, Ricky Seelhof (BC). President Kayla Weston (AB) moved into the Past President role filling the one-year member at large position. New Provincial Representatives Martin Clausen (AB), Kate Barnett (MB) and Susan Hamilton (Maritimes) were welcomed to the board. Holly Thompson (SK) stepped into the role of President and Jessica Sperber (AB) took on the position of Vice President, both by acclamation. The following week during the virtual Canadian Beef Industry Conference, outgoing Member at Large, Ricky Seelhof, and her family were also honoured as the 2020 recipients of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association Environmental Stewardship Award.

In September, YCC President, Holly Thompson, joined a CCA meeting with Conservative Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lianne Rood, to speak to the importance of young producers having access to bankable and equitable business risk management programs. She also joined a similar virtual meeting with Federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau.

CCA AGM 2020 - CCA AGM 2020 - from left to right: David Haywood-Farmer, Minister Bibeau, YCC President, Kayla Weston and Bob Lowe.

Council delegates joined participants of the CYL Program for a two-part government relations virtual training series hosted in partnership with the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association. 

For the first training session, participants expanded their knowledge on government relations terminology, beef industry issues and various ways they can be a voice for industry priorities. The second part of the training included an “expert panel” with guest speakers Ted Menzies and Rory McAlpine.

December was another busy month for the Council. As the Beef Value Chain Roundtable meeting shifted to a virtual event on December 1, there was the opportunity to have a few YCC delegates participate in the meeting. On December 17 through a video on YCC social media channels, President Holly Thompson highlighted why proposed changes to AgriStability would help young beef producers, as Ministers across Canada evaluate BRM programs. A new YCC BC Provincial Representative was also appointed to replace Ian Lauder who resigned from the Council. Andrea van Iterson joined the Council and will bring her experience and fresh ideas to the group.

YCC is made possible through the support of its Platinum Partner, New Holland, and 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. The YCC is incredibly grateful for the support from these organizations.