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CCA's youth programs visit Denver for a hands-on learning experience of CAN-US trade relationship


L-R: CYL, Kayla Shallard (BC), Youth Council Vice President, Kimberly Lansdall (SK), CYL Grad, Andrea van Iterson (BC) and CYL Grad, Claye Harsany (AB) at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO.


A small delegation from the Canadian Cattle Association's (CCA) youth programs visited Denver, CO last month to see first hand the importance of the Canada-U.S. trade relationship at work in our highly integrated North American beef supply chain.


This trip from January 13-17, 2024 was planned in coordination with the Consulate General of Canada, and included representatives from the Canadian Cattle Youth Council, Canadian Cattle Young Leaders program (CYL) and CCA staff.


This annual trip to Denver is an excellent opportunity for our industry’s future leaders to learn more about the beef trade between Canada and the United States and start forging relationships with their counterparts south of the border. A special thanks goes out to the Consulate General of Canada in Denver for their work building an interesting program for our young leaders and providing funding to help support their travels. 


Activities included industry meetings, site visits, and networking opportunities with the goal of building alliances, advancing Canada’s advocacy priorities when it comes to importance of trade between our two nations, and fostering cooperation between our industries. This year’s trip was coordinated around the National Western Stock Show and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association Mid-Winter Conference.  


L-R: CCA's Ryder Lee, CYL grad Claye Harsany (AB), CYL grad Andrea van Iterson (BC), CYL Laurie Côté-Sarrazin (QC), CYL Kayla Shallard (BC), Youth Council Vice President Kimberly Lansdall (SK), Youth Council BC Delegate Rylonn Elliot (BC), CCA's Jessica Radau, and young rancher from Colorado McKayla Hoffman at the Colorado Cattlemen's Association meeting.


Highlights included:


  • Participating in the Colorado Cattlemen's Association Mid-Winter Conference. CCA General Manager, Ryder Lee, presented an update on CCA's policy work, and CCA Past President and Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef President, Bob Lowe, attended virtually to present on CCA's engagement at COP28 and the importance of showing up to ensure Canadian beef producers have a voice in the global conversation.

  •  Visiting the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) office in Denver to connect with their leadership and tour their impressive culinary centre.

  • Visiting the JBS USA headquarters for insight into the management of the American and Canadian operations by connecting with leadership, including the CEO of JBS USA, Wesley Batista Filho. The young leaders group toured the JBS Greely processing facility the following day; one of the largest in the U.S. with capacity to process approximately 5,000 head per day.

  • Visiting the Colorado State University AgNext research farm to learn about their current research on cattle methane emissions and sustainable solutions for animal agriculture.


  • Connecting with Canadian Beef Breeds Council Vice President, Shawn Wilson, at the National Western Stock Show to learn about the history of the show and talk about opportunities for young people to be successful in the Canadian beef industry. Also networking with one of last year’s CYL mentors, Sheila Jensen of Jensen Bros Herefords from Kansas.

  • Networking with staff and leadership from the Consulate General of Canada in Denver and attending the Canada Night Rodeo together at the stock show. CYL, Kayla Shallard, and Youth Council Vice President, Kimberly Lansdall, joined Consulate officials for a lap around the arena in a horse-drawn wagon to highlight Canada's important relationship with the U.S. at the rodeo.



Below, some of the young leaders in attendance outlined their takeaways from their travels:


What did you learned about the trading relationship between Canada and the U.S.? How does this impact your role in the Canadian beef industry?


"Some of the key information I learned about the beneficial trading relationship between Canada and the US is that both beef industries are highly integrated, with cross-border trade in live cattle, beef products, and beef cattle genetics, highlighted at the Denver stock show. This integration allows for efficient production and distribution across North America. Canada exports half of its beef production with 70 per cent of that going to the U.S. market, making the United States a key partner in our global beef trade. Changes in U.S. market conditions, such as fluctuations in demand, prices, or trade policies, can directly impact Canadian producers and exporters. For instance, access to the US market provides Canadian producers with opportunities for export and influences domestic pricing dynamics. The Canadian and US beef industries are affected by similar market dynamics, including consumer preferences, input costs, and global market trends. Changes in one country's industry can have ripple effects on the other due to the integrated nature of the supply chain. Both countries are major exporters of beef, suppling markets around the world.


Overall, the influence of the US beef industry on the Canadian beef industry is multifaceted and deeply intertwined due to shared market dynamics, supply chain integration, regulatory alignment, and collaborative efforts. Our Canadian CYL Program and Youth Council trip to Denver helped solidify that our beneficial trade relationship with the US is essential for stakeholders in both countries to navigate market opportunities and challenges effectively."


-Claye Harsany, Canadian Cattle Young Leaders, 2020 Graduate


What message or key information did you communicate with the new connections made in the U.S. about the Canadian beef industry?

"When communicating with our peers in the U.S., there was a consistent theme that our issues are your issues and vice versa.  It was a great way to compare and initiate dialogue that could be useful to problem solving or consideration for new ideas. Whether the issue was water, access to land, environmental concerns or public trust; it is evident that our desire to work and learn collaboratively is a tool for both countries to benefit from and should be a key takeaway."


-Andrea van Iterson, Canadian Cattle Young Leaders, 2020 Graduate


Why do you feel it is important for the next generation to build relationships with our counterparts in the United States?

"Having a good relationship with the United States is a necessity, it allows us the opportunity to export and import beef to keep the economy going within Canada. Continuing to build on the work generations ahead of us did is important to learn what historically has happened in the past and continue building upon those foundations. It is also important because there are a lot of similarities across the beef industry on both sides of the border. Whether that is our grazing lands being taken up by urban sprawl, water concerns, herd health and environmental challenges affecting grazing and crop yields each year. It allows each side of the border to see what ideas may or may not work, being applied in different scenarios. Being exposed to this cross-border relationship sooner than later allows the next generation the time to seek advice from the previous generations. As well as having the opportunity to ensure it continues to allow beef production to be a quality product that is sustainable at all levels throughout the cycle within Canada and the United States."


-Kimberly Lansdall, Canadian Cattle Youth Council Vice President (SK)


Was there anything you learned that was surprising to you, or something you changed your viewpoint on after attending the trip? 

"During the Denver trip I was surprised about how inviting and accommodating everyone was. It was a jam packed few days with meetings and great food. Each stop there was great conversation about Canadian beef, trade, young producers, and overall, it was very inspiring. All the people we met with took time out of their day to meet and chat with our group. It was neat to speak with many different members of our supply chain and be made to feel valued by industry members.  As a young producer, it is easy to get lost in the day-to-day workload. I felt energized and excited to be part of these conversations. Coming home from this trip has reminded me about how important it is to be involved and to take time for networking and professional development, as it is invaluable."

-Kayla Shallard, Canadian Cattle Young Leaders Program, 2023-24 Participant (BC)


What was a highlight you learned during the trip? How will you apply this to your career or farm/ranch at home?

"I loved the food and the chef at NCBA, who is passionate about various cuts of meat and

cooking. We discussed the most popular and lesser-known cuts of meat that should be

featured, as well as different cooking methods. In the coming months, I want to cook more

on social media, showing people how easy it can be to cook a tasty steak, with high quality

meat."


-Laurie Côté-Sarrazin, Canadian Cattle Young Leaders Program, 2023-24 Participant



Thank you to our Sponsors!

We are grateful to our sponsors who make these learning opportunities a reality. Thank you for supporting the development of the the next generation in the Canadian beef industry.

Thank you to our Canadian Cattle Young Leaders Platinum Partner, McDonald's Canada, Foundation Partners, Cargill, MNP, New Holland, Elanco, and Gold Partners, Alltech, Farm Credit Canada, and RBC Future Launch.


Thank you to our Canadian Cattle Youth Council Platinum Partner, New Holland, and the following associations for your support of the Youth Council: British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association, Alberta Beef Producers, Saskatchewan Beef Producers, Manitoba Beef Producers, Beef Farmers of Ontario, Quebec Cattle Producers, Nova Scotia Cattle Producers, New Brunswick Cattle Producers, Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers and the Canadian Cattle Association.

Also a big thank you to the Consulate General of Canada in Denver for your generous funding and support in building this experience for our young leaders.


Applications for the 2024-2025 Canadian Cattle Young Leaders program year are open on our website for ages 18-35 until March 31, 2024. Click here to learn more and apply: Apply to the Canadian Cattle Young Leaders Program today



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