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Announcing the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program 2016-17 Participants

The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is pleased to announce the participants in the 2016-17 Beef Researcher Mentorship program. Following an open application process, four researchers have been selected. Each has been paired with notable leaders in the Canadian beef industry and given a travel budget for the coming year, which will provide valuable opportunities for greater engagement with Canada’s beef industry.

Mentee: Dr. Getahun Legesse Gizaw
Mentors: Charlie Christie and Brenna Grant 


Getahun Legesse, Ph.D., is a Research Associate at the University of Manitoba. He is currently working on a collaborative project that aims to define the environmental footprint of Canadian beef. This involves collecting and analyzing of beef industry data to assess how the environmental impact of the beef industry has changed over the past thirty years. Earlier, he worked in the area of alternative forage-based systems for environmentally-sound and profitable production of beef in Canada.

Getahun received his Ph.D. in Animal Science (Livestock Production Systems analysis) from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. His doctoral project examined the productive, reproductive and economic performance of small ruminants in two production systems and identified possible options for improvement.

Through the mentorship program, Getahun hopes to gain more knowledge of cattle management practices as well as policies, regulations, and guidelines that affect the production, transportation, marketing and processing of cattle and beef products.


Charlie Christie, along with his wife Rochelle run a mixed farm with 2000 acres of mixed grain and hay as well as 400 Angus-influence crossbred cows West of Trochu, Alberta. They finish their own calves and custom feed about 300 head.

Charlie is the current Finance Chair of the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) and has been an ABP delegate for nine years, all of these as a Cattle Feeder Council delegate. Charlie has served as the Cattle Feeder Council’s BCRC representative for six years, two of these as chair. He has also been a Zone 5 representative on the ABP research committee for several years.


Brenna Grant has a Master’s of Science in Applied Economics, Professional Agrologist designation and nine years’ experience with Canfax Research Services (CRS).  As manager of CRS, Brenna provides industry with statistical information, economic analysis and market outlooks focusing on both the Canadian and global beef markets. Statistical information and economic analyses are used in business plan development, marketing decisions, research, and other projects.

Mentee: Dr. Jessica Gordon 
Mentors: Joe Hill, Dr. Calvin Booker, and Dr. Peter Kotzeff


Jessica Gordon D.V.M., D.V.Sc, is an Assistant Professor in Ruminant Health Management in the Department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College. She focuses her teaching on beef cattle health and management. Her most recent research involved parasite control in cow-calf herds.

Jessica grew up in an urban setting in Michigan with little exposure to agriculture. Her interest in cattle was sparked during her undergraduate program when she participated in a research project involving bovine nutrition. She fostered this interest by working on a dairy for several years, taking many management and nutrition classes, and completing her BS in Animal Science at Michigan State University. She continued to follow her passion for cattle by focusing on food animal medicine in veterinary school. After graduation from veterinary school, she held a position in a food animal practice in Wisconsin servicing mostly dairy and cow-calf producers. She left the practice after 3 years to pursue a DVSc at the University of Guelph in Ruminant Health.

She hopes to continue applied research in cow-calf and feedlot medicine, expanding into other areas such as disease prevalence and prevention and causes of lameness.

Through the mentorship program, Jessica hopes to expand her knowledge of both the Canadian and global beef industry and better understand industry issues in order to tailor her research to finding solutions to relevant problems to Canadian beef producers.


Joe Hill, his wife Jennifer, and children Kaleb and Miranda run a small feedlot and crop farm in Wellington County, Ontario. They grow corn, soybeans, wheat, barley and hay on 800 acres, with on-farm drying and storage for the grain. In the cattle operation, they purchase yearling cattle from backgrounding farms, through auction, and finish them on a grain based diet. Cattle typically arrive weighing 1000lbs to 1050lbs and are marketed around 1600lbs.

Joe has been on the Beef Farmers of Ontario board of directors since 2011 and currently sits as Vice-President. He represents the Ontario beef industry on the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Agriculture Adaptation Council, which provides GF2 funding to businesses and organizations on behalf of the Ontario Government. Joe was an inaugural board member on the Livestock Research and Innovation Corporation. His experiences have allowed him the opportunity to work with government, academia and producers from a cross section of Ontario agriculture.

Calvin Booker

Dr. Calvin Booker received his D.V.M. in 1989 and his M.Vet.Sc. in 1992 from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Booker completed an internship at the Ambulatory Clinic, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in 1990 and a residency at the Field Service Clinic, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1992.

From 1990 to 1992, Dr. Booker collaborated on research efforts with Feedlot Health Management Services (Feedlot Health), which is a professional services company that provides comprehensive veterinary and production consulting services, as well as computerized individual animal data collection systems and management/execution tools, to feedlot and calf grower operations throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico. In addition, Feedlot Health has extensive research capabilities that focus on identification, development, and evaluation of applied technologies in commercial feedlot and calf grower production systems.

Dr. Booker became part of the Feedlot Health team in 1992 as an epidemiologist, data analyst and production consultant. Dr. Booker is currently a Managing Partner in the firm, with responsibilities that include managing the Feedlot Health production consulting business, directing research and development activities, and building the company growth and development plan.

Peter Prof portrait

Dr. Peter Kotzeff is a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College. He is a partner at North Heritage Animal Hospital, a small animal practice managed by his daughter. Peter devotes 100% of his professional time to beef practice and the beef industry at the Chesley Veterinary Clinic.

Peter operates a 2000 acre cash crop and grazing operation in Bruce County Ontario with an emphasis on integrating cattle grazing, cover crops and minimal tillage to improve soil quality. He received the 2014 Ontario Cattleman’s Environmental Stewardship Award and the 2015 Grazing Award for his grazing operation.

Peter and Pam, his wife of thirty-five years, have four children, Sasha who is also an OVC grad, Nichole a recent graduate nurse, Laura working in New Zealand and Simon a Harvard and MIT grad.

Mentee: Dr. Kateryn Rochon 
Mentors: Tim Oleksyn and Karin Schmid


Kateryn Rochon, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Manitoba, where her research program is focused on arthropods as vectors of both livestock and wildlife pathogens, with a current emphasis on tick distribution and ecology.

Kateryn has a Ph.D. in Veterinary Entomology from North Carolina, her dissertation work focused on the potential of stable flies to act as a vector for a swine virus causing serious problems to the industry at the time. Following her degree, Kateryn moved back to Canada to complete a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge, where she did research on geographic distribution and sampling of Rocky Mountain wood ticks.

Through the mentorship program, Kateryn would like to gain a better understanding of the structure of the Canadian beef industry and increase her network of producers to better understand the production challenges they face.


Tim Oleksyn farms and ranches near Shellbrook, Saskatchewan, along with his wife and brothers, where he manages the cow/calf operation for Oleksyn Brothers Farms.

His extensive involvement with the beef industry has a sharp focus on research, and Tim serves on a number of boards and advisory groups, both provincially and nationally. He is the past Chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council. Tim is also Chair of Western Beef Development Centre, and Vice-Chair of the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund.


Karin Schmid is the Beef Production Specialist for the Alberta Beef Producers. Karin grew up on a mixed farm near Keoma, AB, raising purebred Simmental cattle and grain, and is still involved to a limited extent. She has a Master’s Degree in Agriculture from the University of Alberta, which focused on the genetic and metabolic factors affecting feed efficiency in beef cattle. Before joining ABP, Karin spent just over four years with the Canadian Hereford Association as their Breed Development Coordinator. As the Beef Production Specialist for ABP Karin provides technical support in the areas of production, health, welfare, and research.

Mentee: Dr. Marjolaine Rousseau
Mentors: Jacques Desrosiers, Steve Eby and Dr. Rémi Laplante 

marjolaine rousseau[1]

Marjolaine Rousseau, DMV, is currently an Assistant Professor of Bovine Ambulatory Medicine at the University of Montreal. After graduation of her DMV at the University of Montreal, she completed an Internship in Bovine Medicine at the same institution then worked for a mixed animal practice in a rural veterinarian shortage area in southeastern Ohio. In 2008, she started a 3-year residency in food animal surgery at Kansas State University. By 2011, she had graduated from that program and completed a master’s degree. which investigated the use of an absorbable carrier to deliver antimicrobials and growth factors to bone in order to enhance its healing in presence of infection in a goat model. In 2011, she returned to the University of Montreal as a clinician at the Farm Animal Hospital.She became a certified specialist of large animal surgery by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2016.

She is currently involved as a co-investigator in a research project to evaluate the use of a new disinfectant as a footbath to control digital dermatitis.

Through the mentorship program, Marjolaine hopes to broaden her knowledge of the feedlot sector and specific feedlot herd management strategies. Marjolaine would like to better understand the decision making processes of large feedlots as well as the specific clinical problems faced by the industry.


Jacques Desrosiers, along with his family operate Ferme B et L Desrosiers, a farm and feedlot in Saint-Hermas, Québec. They feed approximately 3500 head a year that are primarily Angus. They also farm 2000 acres, growing soybeans, wheat, and corn.

Steve picture Feb 2012

Steve Eby owns and operates a feedlot, grazing and crop operation near the shores of Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario. The Eby family markets 1500 head of fed cattle annually and manage 300 head on pasture. Their crop production includes corn, soybeans, spring cereals, alfalfa and pasture. He is a University of Guelph grad with a major in Animal Science.

Steve has been very involved in a number of agricultural organizations including the Bruce County Cattlemen’s Association, Grey Bruce Farmers Week, OMAFRA Livestock Medicines Committee, Chair of Ontario Cattlemen’s Association Research Committeeas well a past board member of Beef Farmers of Ontario and Canadian Cattle Identification Agency.  He is currently a member of the Beef Farmers of Ontario Feedlot Committee.

Laplante Remi 2015_2 copy

Dr. Rémi Laplante currently holds the position of veterinary advisor for Les Producteurs de bovins du Québec. Born in Thurso, a rural village in Québec, Rémi was greatly influenced in his choice of career by his grandfather, who ran a small dairy operation. Following his graduation from the Université de Montréal’s Faculté de médecine vétérinaire in 1982, Rémi worked as a large animal practitioner for thirty-four years, providing health management and veterinary services to dairy, feedlot and cow-calf producers.

Rémi is the proud father of three grown daughters, and a doting grandfather to three delightful little girls.

The Beef Researcher Mentorship Program provides upcoming and new applied researchers with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the needs of the beef industry in practical and meaningful ways. Participants are paired with innovative cattle producers and other industry professionals for a one year mentorship along with a travel budget to attend industry meetings, producer workshops, and farm tours. The program complements similar programs in existence but for which some researchers may not be eligible. Funding is made available through the technology transfer initiative within the second Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster.

Learn more about the Beef Researcher Mentorship program, including highlights from last year’s participants, at

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