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Mentorship opportunities for beef researchers

Engaging researchers who study cattle, beef, genetics, feed or forage production with the Canadian beef cattle industry is mutually beneficial; it allows researchers to be better informed of industry needs and more likely to share their findings with a practical, solution-based focus. Facilitating and encouraging their attendance to industry events and networking with industry professionals, especially for new beef researchers from non-agriculture backgrounds, is extremely valuable. The following two programs offer just that.

Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Development Program

The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) program provides outstanding mentorship opportunities to those aged 18-35 interested in research, a career, or industry leadership in the Canadian beef cattle sector.

Of nearly 70 applicants, 16 participants were selected for the 2013/14 program, including Claire Windeyer.  Claire is an assistant professor and researcher in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. She was paired with Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, a fourth generation Alberta rancher and current director of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency.

“As a young faculty member in bovine health at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, I am involved in research, teaching, and clinical work. I am developing a research program in the area of beef calf health, well-being, and productivity. The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program has helped me to engage with the beef industry and better understand the challenges and opportunities facing it. My interactions with my mentor, Cherie Copithorne-Barnes have been inspiring and insightful; I’m learning a great deal about the ‘big picture’ as well as the day-to-day issues of cow-calf producers. Driving through pastures checking cattle or sitting at her kitchen table, our discussions have been very wide ranging, from consumer demands and business management, to weaning stress and pharmaceutical choices.

This program has enabled me to meet other Young Leaders, producers, and numerous other individuals associated with the beef industry. The connections I have made will serve me well throughout my career. The opportunity has really helped me to better understand the industry; those insights are invaluable to ensure my research program will have positive impacts on beef cattle health.  Overall, this has been a very positive experience for me and I would strongly encourage other young beef researchers to participate.” – Claire Windeyer, 2013/14 CYL Mentee


The CYL program is a national youth initiative by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The program provides industry-specific training and mentorship opportunities to young producers and other beef cattle enthusiasts. The Beef Cattle Research Council sponsors the mentorship of researchers selected as participants of the program.

In Spring 2014, a new group of mentees will be selected from across Canada. Finalists will be paired with industry leaders to begin an 8-month mentorship. Each participant is given a $2000 budget to attend various industry events and meetings with their mentor. CYL also provides participants with opportunities to travel internationally to network with leaders and peers in other nations.

Applications for the 2014/15 program are currently open. The deadline to apply is January 19th, 2014. Visit and follow CYL on Twitter and on Facebook for more information.

International Livestock Congress Calgary Student Program

As an important part of the International Livestock Congress (ILC) Calgary, the student program promotes agricultural education and training of the beef industry with future leaders.  Agriculture students around the globe can apply for the opportunity to spend July 8-11, 2014 touring various beef and cattle facilities in Southern Alberta, meeting Canada’s industry leaders and discussing major issues, as well as attend the conference on July 9th.

Applications for 2014 ILC travel bursaries will open soon. Keep an eye on and like ILC Calgary on Facebook.

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