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Announcing the Mentors in the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program

Last month we proudly announced the launch of the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program, a new initiative that will facilitate greater engagement of upcoming and new applied researchers with Canada’s beef industry. Three researchers were selected as inaugural participants: Drs. Emma McGeough, Bill Biligetu and Raquel Rodriquez Doce.

These researchers have now been paired with notable leaders in Canada’s beef industry. Mentors will help the researchers build the knowledge, skills and network needed to deliver successful applied research and extension programs of benefit to our industry through ongoing discussions and by initiating various introductions, tours and meetings. The mentors will be valuable resources of information about day-to-day cattle and forage production, industry structure and influences, and perspectives on industry challenges and opportunities at regional and national levels.

The BCRC is pleased to announce the 2014/15 Beef Researcher Mentorship Program mentors:

Mentee: Emma McGeough
Janice Bruynooghe and Sandy Russell

Janice Bruynooghe, MSc, PAg was raised on her family’s ranching operation in central Saskatchewan. Her formal training included time at the University of Saskatchewan earning Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Master of Science degrees focusing on animal science, grazing management and forage production systems. Past employment includes the Western Beef Development Centre and working as an instructor within the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan.

In 2003 Janice and her husband Chad launched Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting, providing services to the forage and livestock sectors. During this time Janice served for more than a decade as Executive Director for the Saskatchewan Forage Council while also working on an extensive list of beef and forage industry projects both at the provincial and national level. Her interests and expertise include research and project management, strategic planning, governance and organizational development, and communication solutions. With a strong focus on collaboration and a commitment to building partnerships, Janice’s projects have included working with industry associations, producer groups, private business, provincial and federal governments and universities. Her current focus includes an innovative initiative being established by stakeholders through the creation of an industry-wide ‘Saskatchewan Forage Network’ – a collaborative approach to research and industry development which complements and expands the current activities and resources at work within the province and across Canada.

Janice remains directly connected to the industry. Along with Chad and their eleven year old son, she calls the ranch near Outlook, Saskatchewan home.

Sandy Russell

Sandy Russell, MSc, PAg is a Saskatchewan-based Market Analyst and Partner in Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting, Inc. Sandy received both her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan. Following her formal education, Sandy worked for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture for six years as Provincial Beef Economist and then Senior Livestock Industry Analyst.

In 2008, Sandy left public service to become a partner in Spring Creek Land & Cattle Consulting, Inc., a consulting firm providing management and communication services, production and economic solutions, and market and policy analysis to the forage and cattle industries. During the past 10 years, Sandy has become recognized for her market and policy analysis of the beef industry and is respected for her in-depth knowledge and understanding of the ever-changing dynamics of the cattle business.

Sandy grew up on Spring Creek Ranch, a commercial cattle operation, and continues to remain active in the cattle business, co-owning and operating Russell Cattle Company near Outlook, Saskatchewan.

Emma McGeough

Emma McGeough, PhD was raised on a mixed beef/dairy/poultry operation in the Rep. of Ireland. She received a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Ph.D. in the area of ruminant nutrition, assessing the impact of feeding ensiled forages to finishing cattle on enteric methane emissions and animal performance. In 2010, following her formal education, she took up a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Post-Doctoral Visiting Fellowship position at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lethbridge Research Centre where she focused on mitigation of enteric methane emissions from ruminant livestock and life-cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Spring of 2013 Emma joined the Department of Animal Science at the University of Manitoba as an assistant professor of sustainable grasslands/livestock production systems. This role encompasses forage and beef research, in addition to a range of academic duties as well as outreach to the beef industry and general public. Through her research interests, she aspires to enhance the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the Canadian cattle industry. Emma’s current collaborative research projects include evaluation of perennial and annual forages for use in extended grazing systems, mitigation of enteric methane emissions from cattle through supplementation of forage diets and establishment of the environmental footprint of the Canadian beef industry.

Through the Beef Research Mentorship Program, Emma plans to gain a better understanding of Canadian production practices, policies and regulations governing the industry, and the marketing of livestock commodities. She looks forward to becoming more involved with industry to understand influences at regional, national and international levels, and become better equipped to identify key issues for beef producers and the Canadian beef industry at large.

Mentee: Bill Biligetu
Mentor: Aaron Ivey

Aaron Ivey and his wife Adrienne, along with their children Noelle and Colton, own and operate a mixed cattle and grain farm near Ituna, Saskatchewan.

Aaron and Adrienne purchased their first land in 2000, after completing their agriculture degrees. Since then, they have focused on growing their family, building their cow herd, expanding their land base, and restructuring their operation. They continually focus on ways to improve their production and business bottom line. Variety trials, stockpile grazing demos, plant growth promoter side-by-sides and genomic trias are all ways they examine their current practices and plan for the future. Bale grazing, extended weaning, sod seeding and genetic selection have all been areas of innovation and change of their operation.

Aaron supports initiatives focused on bringing government and producer group funding and focus back to research and innovation in the beef and forage sectors. He has been involved in a number of industry organizations, steering committees and projects related to agriculture research.

Bill Biligetu, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Forage Crop Breeding with the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan. He has been in this role since May 2014. The major focus of his research is to develop new varieties of important perennial forage crops seeded in Saskatchewan and western Canada.

Bill was born and raised on a family ranch in Inner Mongolia, China. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Grassland Sciences and a M.Sc. in Rangeland Management from the Inner Mongolia Agriculture University. He also obtained a Ph.D. in Perennial Forage Physiology and Management from the University of Saskatchewan, and completed certificates for ‘Advanced plant breeding’ from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Bill has over three years experience in perennial forage breeding and research at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research centers, and has worked for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture as a forage specialist.

Bill’s objectives through this opportunity include to gain better understanding of cow-calf production in Western Canada, to learn more about the beef and forage sector structure and influences across Canada, and to identify future needs for forage breeding and other related research that supports Canadian beef production.

Mentee: Raquel Rodriquez Doce
Mentor: Graeme Finn

Graeme Finn

Graeme Finn and his wife, Heather, and their two young daughters Claire and Morgan, currently run a beef operation near Madden, Alberta. They manage a cow-calf operation and run grass yearlings with a focus on year-round grazing of both high legume pastures and annual crop grazing. They have been successful in incorporating intensive rotational grazing and winter grazing strategies into their management system.

Graeme has been Vice President of the Agricultural Research Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA) board. He currently sits on the advisory committee of the Canadian Beef and Forage Research Council (CBFRC) as well as the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund (ACIDF) board. His passion for looking at new ways to do things and finding ways to be profitable by cutting the bottom line as well as looking outside the box to improve profit margins has made him keen to be involved with all of the ARECA associations, including the Foothills Forage and Grazing Association (FFGA).

Graeme has been involved in the agricultural industry in his capacity with ACIDF, FFGA, CBFRC and ARECA to try and help advance agriculture in any way, always willing to lend a hand and talk anything grass.

Raquel Doce

Raquel Rodriquez Doce, PhD is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research centre in Lacombe, Alberta. Her research is focused on the development and management of cereal-forage crops for improved utilization in cow-calf, backgrounding and feedlot operations.

Raquel studied Animal Production and Economy at the University of Leon in Spain, followed by a M.Sc. in Animal Production and Ph.D. in Ruminant Nutrition. Over the past two years during her post-doctorate at Lacombe, she has generated near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) calibration equations to predict forage quality traits, and developed a simple economic and nutrient requirement spreadsheet that relates cereals silage and swath grazing to feedlot backgrounding and swath grazing.

Raquel plans to use this experience to continue to increase her practical knowledge of cereal crop production and beef production from cow-calf through to finishing. With direct contact with producers like Graeme, she will build her understanding of their challenges and production decisions, become more familiar with industry structure and relations with government, and identify the industry’s ongoing research priorities and needs for solutions and improvements.

Learn more

Beef research council putting out the welcome mat for young researchers
Alberta Farmer Express

Beef Researcher Mentorship Program launches
BCRC News Release | August 5, 2014

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