Hard work and perseverance

When “Young Guns” is mentioned, typically the 1980s movie “Young Guns” comes to mind starring Emilio Estevez, Keifer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips — but, it is the Young Gun Contest that matters here. The contest was held again this year for youth ages eight to 21 involved in Alberta’s beef industry. Participants were asked to explain how cattle and beef production impacted their lives and future through some form of communication tool. A panel of Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) delegates judged an astonishing 26 submissions with three selected and awarded the top prizes, according to a recent media release.

Second place went to Shanea Sinke from Picture Butte. Sinke, it was stated in the media release, put together a video highlighting her family ranch and learning the importance of hard work. She shared an endearing story of bidding on and purchasing her first cow.

"I never really thought much of it, but when I saw this contest I thought it was a cool opportunity to actually get out and look at our farming operation from the other side of the lens. I think we often take it for granted, being a part of the hands-on day-to-day work, but it was neat being able to compile a series of short videos showing life around the farm from a different angle,” she said.

Sinke said she enjoyed being able to make the video, but she was really impressed when she found out she won second place with it in the competition. “The prize money has already been pumped back into my cows. I hope to continue to be involved in the ag industry, especially on the cattle side, and I hope to continue growing my own beef herd. While I’m not sure if I’ll have time to continue being in 4-H, I would still like to continue showing cattle, as well,” explained Sinke.

According to the southern Alberta “Young Gun,” it’s more important now than ever for southern Albertans to remain optimistic about the beef industry, especially with ever-growing pressure.

“I think we should especially be optimistic with local markets, as beef is who Alberta was and I’m optimistic that’s what it will always remain. Farming and ranching is everywhere around us and consumers love beef, so when we can keep producing it at its best, our local and national market will remain in demand and we will continue to promote this to other countries,” she said.

That being said, Sinke noted — with the recent fallout with China, she believes there will always be a market for Canadian beef and there is enough demand to shift it and expand other export markets. “There’s always highs and lows in market prices, but overall I’m optimistic and hoping to remain that way because we love what we do and a pessimistic outlook can ruin the attitude towards our lifestyle.”

When it comes to ag, Sinke added she’s proud to be Albertan, “Where I know I have been born and raised in a place where there is endless opportunity to produce a good juicy steak, while being able to follow it from pasture to plate. Being the powerhouse of beef production, Alberta beef products boast rich taste, even fat distribution and consistent quality. There is a strong assurance of the quality of cuts we are producing and we are very proud to be recognized for offering some of the finest beef in the world,” she said.

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