Wednesday, 12 July 2017 13:47

The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Program is gearing up to announce its program winners this year

Written by  Demi Knight
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The Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) mentorship program is ready to select its winners of this year’s program this month as participants anxiously await the news.

This CYL mentorship program which is offered each year gives its members the opportunities to learn and grow within their chosen field through unique opportunities of training and mentorship by beef industry professionals.
Up-and-coming producers of the new generation between the ages of 18 and 35 are given the chance to work with leaders and professionals in meeting and events within the cattle industry across the world, through this dedicated and life changing program.
This year there are many more finalists hoping to make that leapand become more well versed in the industry through this incomparable program.
Mona Howe, who lives near Leader, Sask., says the experience she was offered through this program was second to none after winning a place as a mentorship recipient back in August, 2016.
The program had her travel across the globe as her horizons within the farming industry grew.
“The program is well known for providing excellent networking possibilities and facilitating industry involvement for young beef enthusiasts. I was honoured to be selected as one of the 16 finalists. Shortly after that, I began to learn about the many exciting opportunities to travel, be part of industry events and to advocate for the industry at events such as Farm-fair International and the UFA Cattle Trail at the Calgary Stampede.”
After being selected as one of the finalists, members of the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Program are offered multiple opportunities to pair up with a mentor for the following eight months, and experience their preferred slice of the industry through new and exciting opportunities.
Industry-specific training was provided to last year’s winners through opportunities to attend and participate in multiple seminars across the globe including the CattleFax outlook seminar in Denver, the Young Beef Leaders and National Western Stock Show and the Agriculture Benchmark Beef and Sheep Conference Global Forum.
“I got paired up with a great mentor, Brenna Grant, manager of Canfax Research Services and she helped me learn so much about the cattle and beef markets both domestically and globally along with many other things such as utilizing business risk management tools for our operation,” says Howe of her time with her mentor.
The awards which will return again this year is giving way to a new group of hopefuls who have big plans to change the agriculture future through the opportunities and mentorship given in this program.
One hopeful this year is Kaycee Lunde, a young rancher from east of Airdrie in southern Alberta who has been selected this year as one of the 25 finalists in the CYL leaders program.
Lunde has exciting goals and ideas that she hopes to achieve this year if she’s lucky enough to be selected as a delegate.
“The focus of my application centered around my plans of operating my cow-calf operation mostly on my own, as a woman rancher. Raising cattle brings a lot of challenges, but perhaps being female gives me a different perspective,” she says.
“I would love to be paired with a mentor that could give me advice on picking the best genetics for a cow herd. I want to put an emphasis on easy calvers with strong maternal traits to keep the heavy lifting and hands on work I might have to do in calving season to a minimum.”
Lunde, along with many others, are all part of the finalists this year that hope to get the opportunity of pairing with a mentor and networking to gain better knowledge and understanding of the industry.
“The CYL program is an incredible educational and advocacy opportunity for a young rancher. As a applicant, I wrote an application explaining my background, my interests and most importantly, outlining a focus or a goal I would like to achieve during my year. I am very excited to meet the other delegates and learn all I can from the conference,” says Lunde of her decision to enter the CYL program this year.
Funding for the Cattlemen Young Leaders program is made available each year through their foundation partners of UFA Co-operative LTD, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Cargill and MNP. With the help of their sponsors, the CYL program organizers hope to keep providing these opportunities to young and upcoming beef producers throughout the province for years to come.
“As a rancher, I was particularly interested in finding ways to get more involved in the beef industry,” says Howe.
“I was also interested in finding a mentor that would help me gain knowledge to benefit our own operation. I had heard many great comments about the program from past graduates and felt that it would be the perfect way to achieve these goals. A friend and past mentor for the program encouraged me to apply at the last minute and am I ever glad that I did,” says Howe of the life-changing experience she had with the CYL program over the past year. 
Although the winners who will be receiving mentors through this program will be announced at this year’s Canadian Beef Industry Conference held Aug. 15-17, the program hopes to keep the spirits high of all its members for a better future within the province in the farming and beef industry.

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