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Highlights from the Canadian Cattle Young Leaders Spring Forum

Each spring, Canadian Cattle Young Leaders (CYL) mentees from across Canada gather for the the annual Spring Forum. This three-day event, which was held from May 30 to June 1, 2023 in Calgary, AB and the surrounding area, offered this year's 16 program participants a range of industry tours and training designed to enhance their knowledge and connections in the Canadian beef industry.

One of the key features of the Spring Forum is the speaker sessions throughout the three days, where industry experts shared their insights on various topics. Crystal MacKay of provided valuable guidance on building your personal and professional brands in agriculture. Dennis Laycraft and Ryder Lee from the Canadian Cattle Association spoke on leadership in the beef industry. Elanco's Chief Animal Welfare Officer, Dr. Michelle Calvo-Lorenzo, joined the young leaders to speak to how we can meet our animal welfare goals by investing in ourselves and our teams. And New Holland's David Zeinstra joined the young leaders at the Vanee Farm Centre in High River, AB to shed light on the latest precision agriculture technology, showcasing innovative approaches to maximize efficiency and productivity.

In an exciting addition to this year's program, young leaders collaborated in groups to tackle farm succession planning problems through a case study competition organized by MNP. Teams analyzed different scenarios of an example farm with financials provided, discussed solutions and financial implications, and presented their findings to a panel of judges. This interactive exercise enabled the young leaders to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills while addressing real-life challenges in the agricultural sector.

The event also included a dedicated networking evening held at Railyard Brewery in Calgary, AB, offering an opportunity four young leaders to engage with professionals from various sectors.

To provide a comprehensive understanding of beef production, the Spring Forum included tours to various locations along the beef production chain. Participants visited the Cargill processing facility in High River, AB, Rimrock Feeders, Chinook Ranch, and Southern Cross Livestock, where they learned about sustainable practices for raising high-quality beef cattle and gained insights into different aspects of the production cycle. In addition, Stephen Hughes at Chinook Ranch spoke to his connection and experience as McDonald's first Canadian Flagship Farmer.

Another annual highlight of the Spring Forum is the Sponsor Reception, a special event celebrating the generous support of our program and event sponsors and the achievements of our young leaders in the beef industry. The event took place at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site on May 31, 2023, providing an excellent opportunity for program participants to build long-lasting connections with sponsor and industry representatives.

Funding for the Canadian CYL Program is made available through generous Foundation Partners Cargill, MNP, McDonald’s Canada, and New Holland. The program also receives support from Gold Sponsors Farm Credit Canada, Elanco, RBC Future Launch, and Alltech. Thank you to our program sponsors who helped coordinate various tours and speaker sessions and made this year’s event a success!

New this year, we were also grateful to welcome event sponsors that include Spring Forum Prime Sponsor, Telus Agriculture & Consumer Goods; Spring Forum AAA Sponsor,; Spring Forum Professional Headshot Sponsor, RBC Future Launch; and our Spring Forum Friends of the CYL Sponsors, Cattle Health Management and Friends of the Bar U Historic Ranch Association.

CYLs learning to build their brand with Crystal MacKay of

Leadership Lunch and Learn with CCA's Dennis Laycraft (right) and Ryder Lee (left).

Learning about animal welfare with Elanco's Chief Animal Welfare Officer, Dr. Michelle Calvo-Lorenzo.

Precision agriculture with New Holland's David Zeinstra at the Vanee Farm Centre in High River, AB.

Succession Planning Case Study Competition Group. Left to right: Delanie Ferguson (CYL), Austin Ashbacher (CYL), Jill Harvie (Harvie Ranching, Judge), Andrea Brocklebank (Beef Cattle Research Council, Judge), Madi Lewis (CYL), Morgan Kitchen (CYL).

Winning Case Study Competition team. Left to right: Roxanne Olynyk (MNP, Judge), Russell Gallelli (CYL), Gleise Medeiros da Silva (CYL), Nicky Nixdorff (CYL).

Cargill High River processing facility tour.

Learning about innovation in the feedlot industry at Rimrock Feeders. Left to right: Holly McGill (CYL), Morgan Kitchen (CYL), Carling Matejka (CYL), Tyson Ringdal (CYL), Shylo Penrod (Rimrock Feeders).

Chinook Ranch, Longview, AB.

Southern Cross Livestock, Madden, AB.

CYL Morgan Kitchen (right) networking with CCA's Ryder Lee (left) at the networking dinner.

Sponsor reception. Left to right: Jill Renton (CYL), Madi Lewis (CYL), Morgan Kitchen (CYL), Holly McGill (CYL), Virgil Lowe (TELUS Agriculture), Cameron Olsen (Elanco).

Thanks to our Spring Forum Professional Headshot Sponsor, RBC Future Launch, CYLs were provided with new professional photos, equipping them with valuable tools for their personal and professional growth. Pictured is CYL, Gleise Medeiros da Silva.

Day two breakfast of the Spring Forum powered by McDonald's Canada. Left to right: Danika Mayer (CYL), Gleise Medeiros da Silva (CYL), and Raelynn Blumhagen (CYL).

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