Several Albertans will be playing a key role in a Beef Cattle Research Council initiative that connects up-and-coming applied researchers with players in the beef sector.
Four beef scientists were selected from applicants across the country for the 2015-16 edition of the Beef Researcher Mentorship Program, which had a successful pilot phase in 2014-15. Each is paired with an innovative cattle producer and another industry professional for a one-year mentorship along with a travel budget to attend industry meetings, producer workshops, and farm tours.
“We have been so pleased to hear last year’s participants explain all of the industry learning and networking they experienced thanks to this program,” said Tim Oleksyn, BCRC chair and a producer from Shellbrook, Sask. “We look forward to continuing to work with them and supporting this new group with many opportunities to discuss and observe our industry’s challenges, which will be so valuable for them and the industry as they plan, conduct, and communicate their research.”
Shaun Dergousoff is a research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge research station whose work is focused on better understanding the risks associated with different arthropods (ticks and biting flies) that transmit livestock diseases of current and potential concern. His mentors are the Coaldale Veterinary Clinic, and the Allied Marketing Group, a partnership formed in 2010 by Lethbridge-area feedlot owners Ryan Kasko, Les Wall, Ed Stronks, Leighton Kolk and Shawn Murray, who collectively manage 11 feedlots with a combined capacity of 110,000 head.
Daniel Doerksen, a cow-calf producer near Gem, will be mentoring Angela Canovas, a recently hired assistant professor of beef cattle and small-ruminant genomics at the University of Guelph. She is researching animal systems biology combining statistical genomics and bioinformatics with further functional validation of regulatory target genes. Canovas will also be mentored by Mike McMorris, general manager of the Ontario organization, BIO (Beef Improvement Opportunities).
Mauricio Arcila, food safety quality and regulatory superintendent for Cargill Meat Solutions in High River, will be co-mentoring Claudia Narvaez Bravo, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba examining pre-harvest and post-harvest interventions to reduce the presence of pathogenic organisms within meat production. Her other mentor is Manitoba cow-calf producer Tom Teichroeb.
The other mentee is Argenis Rodas González, an assistant professor in meat science and food safety at the University of Manitoba. His research is focused on the evaluation of meat composition and quality, with special interest in meat shelf life and palatability. His mentors are Betty Green, provincial co-ordinator of the Verified Beef Production program in Manitoba, and Manitoba producer and Canada Beef vice-chair Trevor Atchison.