Cattlemen’s Young Leaders celebrates milestone for mentorship program

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

The next generation of leaders were at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference (CBIC) this year as a part of the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders (CYL) Mentorship Program, provided by the Canadian Cattle Association (CCA).

Young producers — between the ages of 18 and 35 — are provided with industry-specific training, with a highlight in whatever interest they have specified, and mentorship to assist the beef industry going forward.

Although each group of CYL mentees attend the conference each year, this year was extra special, as it marked 160 graduates from the program since the program’s inception in 2010.

Jessica Radau, youth leadership coordinator for the CCA says the CYL program is a “built-in industry succession planning tool.”

“It’s even just the importance of getting that next generation involved for their ideas. The insight they bring to the table is really levelling up that innovation, which is so important. And we say the way that even bringing youth into the conversation really opens up some different doors to those meetings that we go to as well,” emphasizes Radau. “We’re really happy to have them engaged in building a strong generation.”

Each year, there are 16 program participants, which are submitted through written application in January-March of each year. All the applicants are judged, and narrowed down to the top 24. The 24 finalists then compete at CBIC for a spot in the final group of 16, judged by a panel of program sponsors.

As Radau explains, the CCA was very excited to welcome back the semi-finalists after a couple years of virtual conferences.

“They go to each of these round tables that have an industry topic to discuss at each of the tables — whether that’s succession planning, marketing, and trade, innovation, technology, etc. And then they get to participate in those discussions. It’s really neat to see them as peers learning from each other in that environment, too,” she says. “It’s like they bring that engagement and get the juices flowing for the rest of the week.”

Check out the full conversation between Radau and RealAgriculture’s Kara Oosterhuis, below:

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