Dedication and perseverance play important roles in the cattle industry, from farm gate to association perspective. Showcasing those elements, Cam and Myrna Schweitzer of Schweitzer Simmentals, near Decker, were recognized by the Manitoba Simmental Association (MSA) at the Premium Beef Bull Sale held on March 18 in Neepawa.
It was here where the couple received the 2019 Simmental Ambassador/A.O. Henuset Memorial Distinguished Service Award, presented to persons who have un- selfishly given of their time to help establish the Simmental Industry in Manitoba.
“While being presented with this meaningful award, the thoughts of having our names beside some of the most influential leaders in the Simmental business gave us great pride,” the couple said. “It was such a pleasure having known Dolphe Henuset, listening to his wisdom, whether rid- ing to a sale or selecting cattle here at the farm.”
It was through the purchase of eight commercial cows back in 1980, that Cam initiated a cow-calf operation. Upon hearing all the positive attributes that the Simmental breed had to offer, a registered Simmental bull was purchased.
“Myrna and I were married in October of 1982,” said Cam. “That year we also purchased our first registered Simmental females and were accepted into the West Central Simmental Association show and sale at Shoal Lake, at which a number of champion and reserve champion honours were achieved over its existence of 21 years.”
With cattle numbers growing, Schweitzer Simmentals became involved with a number of other sales including the Harvest Hoedown in conjunction with lifetime friends and fellow breeders, Preston Stock Farms, Twin Brae Simmentals, and Win-Dee Acres Farm.
But it wasn’t only sales that brought enrichment to the Schweitzer family, as showing was an intricate part of the cattle business. Along with taking part in local fairs, MSA shows, Ag Ex, and Agribition, they enjoyed sharing personal knowledge gained from their peers.
“Over the years, Myrna and I enjoyed taking part in being junior leaders in the McConnell 4-H Beef Club,” said Cam. “Both of our girls took part in this club, and it’s still very rewarding to see the smiles on the young 4-H’ers.”
Throughout their years of involvement on different boards of directors, the couple has enjoyed taking part in various Simmental functions in Manitoba and across Canada.
After spending 37 years in the cattle business, a bittersweet decision was made to slow down and work their way into retirement. On Dec. 20, 2018, 200 head of Schweitzer Simmentals’ purebred and registered cattle were sold at the Virden auction barn.
Today, both Cam and Myrna are help- ing their daughters Stacey (Brodie) McColl of Redvers, Sask. and Ashley (Josh) Berg of Brandon and their young families with their small purebred herds. They are extremely proud to say a new generation of the Schweitzer family has taken over spots at both the female and bull sales.
Looking back, they said the friendships they made with customers and fellow breeders from across the country was among the most rewarding parts of their work.
“Life is a journey and we both have enjoyed every aspect that the Simmental breed of cattle gave us,” the pair said.
Blair McRae, a Canadian Simmental Association representative, was pleased to present the award, recognizing hard work and dedication in making a business a success, with every moment being extremely worth it and cherished.