A new program launched by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is looking for 16 young beef producers from across the country who have the potential to become the industry leaders of tomorrow.
Through a unique mentorship program, the Canadian cattle industry is actively searching for and developing young leaders who will be able to replace retiring ones. The beef industry, like many others, is becoming increasingly complex. It is not enough for beef producers to know how to produce a good product. Especially, industry leaders need to understand intricate global issues, and develop the knowledge and expertise to deal with them in a proactive way that will benefit the Canadian industry.
By January 2011 six young Alberta ranchers will be better equipped as active knowledgeable participants in their industry, following a Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Mentorship program project piloted in that province in 2010. The program has been so successful it is now being extended nationwide. Program co-ordinator Jill Harvie says they are looking for 16 candidates from across Canada. The application deadline is January 25, 2011.
Youth between the ages of 18 and 35, with a passion for the beef industry, are encouraged to apply to one of two mentorship programs. The Industry Leadership Mentorship is geared towards active producers who exhibit leadership potential. They are matched with industry representatives in their areas of interest, such as animal health, international trade, marketing, research, environment, advocacy and/or policy development.
The Professional Mentorship is tailored towards pre, post or current college and university students who are interested in a career in the beef industry. They are paired with agriculture professionals working in the candidate’s field of interest.
Involvement in the mentorship program gives participants the opportunity to explore career choices, be involved in producer organizations, and gain important business connections. As they are exposed to industry issues and concerns they grow in their knowledge and ability to understand and have important input into them.
So far, feedback from both participants and mentors has been positive. “They’re (mentors) really impressed with the calibre of the people they’re mentoring,” Harvie says. “They’re excited that these people want to be in the beef industry.”
Rosie Templeton is a first-year University of Alberta student working towards a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, with a major in Agriculture Business Management. With a keen interest in communications, especially between consumers and producers, she was paired with Diane Finstad in the Professional Mentorship program.
“She knows a lot of people in the ag industry,” Templeton said of Finstad who is currently the agriculture and rodeo director for CKGY radio in Red Deer and a familiar voice to many Alberta farmers. “She can introduce me to people; give me an idea of who I want to spend a day with.” Together with Finstad, Templeton attended farm and ranch shows and the Canadian Western Agribition in Regina.
Templeton’s mentorship program ends in January. Participants feel six months was a little short, so the program will be extended to eight months in 2011. There is the opportunity at the completion of the mentorship to become part of the International Mentorship program.
Last year, the young ranchers made a video showcasing each participant, their story and their passion for the beef industry. It is an inspiring video that believes strongly in a positive future for agriculture. Harvie is thrilled to be part of making another video with this year’s participants. Watch the video on their website ( www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com under International Mentorship).
This is a good example of the type of events participation in the International Mentorship program offers. Other opportunities are the International Livestock Congress, and the national Cattlemen’s Beef Association Young Producers Council. These events offer increased exposure to global issues and opportunities to actively interact with them.
“At Agribition this year we made an announcement that in 2012 Canada will be hosting the Five Nations Young Ranchers program,” Harvie says. Preparation for that will be another great development opportunity for our Cattleman’s Young Leaders.
The mentorship program is a unique opportunity for Canadian youth in the beef industry. Time is running out to apply before the January 25, 2011 deadline. Anyone wishing to apply can reach Jill Harvie for further information at her office in Calgary at 403 275 8558, or email at [email protected] They can also find more information on the website www.cattlemensyoungleaders.com.
MarianneStammisafreelancefarmwriter fromJarvie,Alberta.Contactherbyemailat: [email protected]