There are two Manitobans participating as mentees in the latest edition of the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program.
The program, which started in 2010, pairs young producers between the ages of 18 and 35 with industry leaders for a year-long mentorship geared to their individual interests. Participants also have a $2,000 budget for attending conferences and industry events. Applications for the 2018-19 program are now open and must be in by March 31. To apply or see the full biographies of the 16 mentees and their 16 mentors in the current program, go to the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders website.
Melissa Lee grew up on a large mixed farm near Rossburn, where she purchased her first purebred Red Angus cows and began raising and selling seedstock while still a youth.
After graduating high school she earned an adventure tourism diploma from Alberta’s Lakeland College and an environmental studies degree from the University of Alberta.
Her education led to a job working with Alberta Environment and Parks, first seasonally and later as a conservation officer. She currently works out of Dinosaur Provincial Park near Brooks, Alta., where she acts as a liaison with local farmers, ranchers and other landowners.
She and her husband, Leon, also own and operate Diamond L Ranch near Oyen, Alta. They raise high-quality Red Angus seedstock for both commercial and purebred producers.
Rachel Verwey was born and raised in Portage la Prairie, where she says she was surrounded by agriculture her entire life.
She grew up on a large mixed family farm with her mother, father, siblings, uncles and cousins. The family runs a 200-head commercial Charolais herd, milks 100 dairy cows and crops 7,000 acres.
She joined 4-H at an early age and was a member of the Gainsborough Combined 4-H Club for 13 years. During these 13 years she also became an active member of the Canadian Charolais Youth Association and has held office on both the national board as well as the Manitoba Junior Charolais Association.
She is currently enrolled in her last year of university at the University of Manitoba, and will be graduating in April with her bachelor’s degree in animal systems.
After university Verwey plans to become more involved with the family operations as well as working with her local Co-op as an agronomist as she becomes an ambassador for the Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Program she will complete this year.
She’s also an active agriculture advocate, active with Ag More Than Ever, Agriculture in the Classroom, and Dairy Farmers of Manitoba.