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Young leaders attend the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef

(L-R) Young Canadian beef producers Katie Stehr, Kathleen Holweger, Laura Plett and Andrea van Iterson attend the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef representing the Canadian Cattle Association's youth programs.

On November 7-10, 2022, four young beef producers representing the Canadian Cattle Young Leaders program and Canadian Cattle Youth Council attended the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef in Denver, CO.

The funding for young leaders to attend the conference was made possible through the Rancher Resilience Grant that supports cattle producers’ attendance at industry events. The Canadian Cattle Association and its youth programs are grateful to the Canadian Cattle Foundation who helped administer the funds and make this opportunity possible.

Below, each of the young leaders in attendance outlined their takeaways from the conference.

What was a highlight of what you learned at the event? How will you apply this to your operation at home?

"The research from Peter Byck with Arizona State University comparing Adaptive Multi-Paddock (AMP) grazing to conventional grazing methods was a highlight of what I learned at the conference. Water and grass are both precious resources for ranchers, therefore learning that AMP grazing allows for 230 per cent more water infiltration per hour compared to conventional grazing is an important discovery. We’ve begun to adopt AMP grazing on our ranch, but plan to expand this method on further acres. This will create resiliency and prepare for years of drought like we recently experienced along with aiding in sustainable beef production."

-Kathleen Holweger, 2019 Canadian Cattle Young Leaders Graduate

Was there anything you learned that was surprising to you, or something you changed your view point on after attending the conference?

"Pleasantly surprised at the passion that was felt at this conference! While it was anticipated that like-minded people would be coming together to share their stories and sustainability journeys, it was overwhelming to witness the degree of passion that not only industry members, but industry partners, shared for the sustainable future of beef."

-Andrea van Iterson, 2020 Canadian Cattle Young Leaders Graduate

What is the importance of having the next generation involved in these international conversations surrounding sustainability?

"A lot of the goals set by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) are long term goals, such as “Reducing global warming impact on a pathway to climate neutrality.” Ambitious, but attainable goals such as this will not be met overnight, and will take generations of hard work by producers and everyone else in the beef supply chain to reach. It is so important to have each of these generations around the table to discuss what’s been done and what we need to do next on a global sustainability scale."

-Laura Plett, Canadian Cattle Youth Council, Member at Large

How will you use what you learned at the conference to encourage other young Canadian beef farmers and ranchers in their sustainability journey?

"Attending the conference provided me with lots of insight into how fortunate Canadian beef producers are to have the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) representing them. Having a forward thinking and progressive industry group supporting global sustainability goals is essential and the CRSB is helping to ensure our producers have a say in how sustainability is realistically defined in Canada specifically, rather than having it mandated. It is imperative that the CRSB has the support of producers for the success of the program, which ultimately will have an impact on the future of our industry.

Through both my career work and my connections to other young producers through the youth organizations, I am confident that I will be able to express to them how essential it is to support the CRSB and also to work towards getting certified as a sustainable operation. It's key that producers know that production practices defined by the CRSB are important not only for the environment, but also for the social and economic well being of our country, as well as the financial viability of their operations. I hope I can use my many industry connections to help spread this message."

-Katie Stehr, 2020 Canadian Cattle Young Leaders Graduate

(L-R) CRSB Chair, Ryan Beierbach, Andrea van Iterson, Katie Stehr, Kathleen Holweger, Laura Plett, and CCA Executive Vice President, Dennis Laycraft.

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