Since 1995, the Manitoba Simmental Association (MSA) has presented the A.O. Henuset Memorial Distinguished Service Award, to persons who have helped establish the Simmental industry in Manitoba.
As the 2017 winners, the Carson family of Northern Light Simmentals, located approximately 15 km southwest of Rossburn, exemplify dedication to the Simmental breed through the cattle program and through their involvement in various events throughout the province. The MSA is proud to have Neil, Denise, and children, Cody and Carly-Jo, involved with the association.
Growing up at Northern Light Simmentals, owned by his late father Wayne and his mother Joan Carson, Neil can remember his first 4-H beef project being a Simmental heifer, and has continued to raise and promote Simmental cattle since then. His late father made the transition from Shorthorn cattle to Simmental a few years prior to 1980, at which time he joined the Canadian Simmental Association.
“After Dad’s passing in 2012, Mom dispersed the herd, although we continued to use the Northern Light name,” said Neil, who has served for many years on the MSA board and was president for 10 of those years. “We focus on raising good, easygoing cattle, that look after themselves, graze longer and stay in good shape. Our cattle are not pampered, as our customers want less maintenance and more profit.”
Today, Northern Light Simmentals continues to breed reds, blacks and traditionals, currently selling approximately 50 bulls a year with half consigned to the Premium Beef Bull Sale held in Neepawa, and the other half available by private treaty.
Over the years, cattle have been shown at various events including Ag-Ex, the Royal Winter Fair, both in Brandon, and the Canadian Western Agribition in Regina.
Embracing a passion for raising, showing and promoting the Simmental breed, Northern Light Simmentals is a mixed farm operation, raising 200 purebred and 30 commercial cattle while farming approximately 2,000 acres of grain, hay and pasture land.
The third generation of Carsons — 15-year-old Cody and his 13-year-old sister Carly-Jo — are extremely involved with the aspiration of being MSA members, behind the farm gate and at various-size shows.
Following in the footsteps of his dad and late-grandfather, Cody was recently nominated the vice-president of the Manitoba Young Canadian Simmental Board. Much like the Canadian Simmental Association, the program focuses on education, teamwork, and hands-on experience for young, future cattle people.