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Three Albertans mentoring new researchers

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A trio of Albertans is among the mentors in the 2016-17 edition of the Beef Researcher Mentorship program.

The program pairs researchers with cattle producers and beef leaders so the academics can better understand “the needs of the beef industry in practical and meaningful ways,” said the Beef Cattle Research Council. Participants also receive a travel budget to attend industry meetings, producer workshops, and farm tours.

University of Manitoba research associate Getahun Legesse-Gizaw will be mentored by Brenna Grant, manager of Canfax Research Services, and Charlie Christie, who has a 400-head cow herd and custom feeding operation near Trochu. Legesse-Gizaw is currently working on a collaborative project that aims to define the environmental footprint of Canadian beef. The scientist, who obtained his PhD in Germany, has also done work on alternative forage-based systems for environmentally sound and profitable cattle production.

Karin Schmid, beef production specialist for the Alberta Beef Producers, and Saskatchewan rancher Tim Oleksyn (who is the past chair of Beef Cattle Research Council) will mentor Kateryn Rochon, an assistant professor in the University of Manitoba entomology department. Her research program is focused on arthropods as vectors of both livestock and wildlife pathogens, with a current emphasis on tick distribution and ecology. Rochon did a three-year post-doctoral fellowship at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge station, where she did research on geographic distribution and sampling of Rocky Mountain wood ticks.

The other researchers in the mentorship program are Marjolaine Rousseau and Jessica Gordon.

Rousseau is an assistant professor of bovine ambulatory medicine at the University of Montreal and is researching feedlot herd management strategies. Gordon is an assistant professor in ruminant health management at the Ontario Veterinary College. She focuses her teaching on beef cattle health and management, and her most recent research involved parasite control in cow-calf herds.

The program is funded as part of the technology transfer initiative in the Beef Cattle Industry Science Cluster. For more information, including highlights from last year’s participants, go to

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