WestGen is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 WestGen Education Awards. Each of these selected students will receive $2000 to assist them with their post-secondary agriculture studies. The selection committee was extremely pleased with the quality of applicants this year, and encourages those not selected to apply again next year. Supporting youth and the development of the Western Canadian cattle industry are mandates of WestGen’s Endowment Fund, and we look forward to watching these students become successful in each of their chosen career paths.

Michael Borst
Michael BorstElm Creek, Manitoba
4th year Animal Systems Degree – Animal Nutrition, University of Manitoba

Growing up on a second generation innovative dairy in Western Manitoba, I learned a lot about cows, crops, equipment, and progressive dairying. My father always was, and is, heavily interested in managing the farm as efficiently and as modernly as possible. This included investing in robotic milking equipment, as well as some genomic testing in our herd. Needless to say, I followed in his footsteps in his passion for not only the farm as a whole, but especially for the dairy herd. For my wife and I, being fond of working with livestock is something that needs to be there if you are pursuing a life in the dairy industry. What is added to that for me is the interest in the data that can be used to track how cows rank in production, and genetically. Working in a herd that is made up of 800 cows helps me realize how effective data tracking is.

In the future, my wife and I hope to own our own dairy, be that through succession or through a different farm operation. Our hope is to use everything that we have learned from both growing up on different dairies, and use whatever the industry provides us in information on genetics, nutrition, and innovations on equipment to continue in the progressive dairy life- until we in turn pass that on to the next generation.

Shelby Devet
Shelby DevetPonoka, Alberta
3rd year, Bachelor of Science – Agribusiness, University of Saskatchewan

I was born and raised on a dairy farm just West of Ponoka, Alberta. As I was growing up, you could often find me in the barn working with some of my favourite cows. Very quickly, I took an interest in dairy genetics and learned an immense amount from my mom, our semen sales representatives, and many other people involved in the industry. This past April I was given a chance to represent Saskatchewan for Holstein Canada’s Young Leader Program, at the 2016 National Holstein Convention in Calgary and Banff. More recently, this October I had the chance to organize a trip for the U of S Dairy Team to attend the 50th anniversary World Dairy Expo. We participated in farm tours to MilkSource, Budjon Farms, and Hoard’s Dairyman Farm and took in all this first class event had to offer.

I am currently in my 3rd year of my Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness at the University of Saskatchewan and am looking forward to completion in April, 2018. Following the completion of my degree, I hope to acquire a job in either dairy feed nutrition or dairy genetics, which will still give me enough time to travel to shows and communicate with many individuals within the industry. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank WestGen for their support of my educational endeavours with this scholarship; it is truly appreciated. Pictured above is a photo taken at World Dairy Expo this year with one of my personal favourite cows, Miss Hot Mama who is owned by Majestic-View, Smith-Crest, Hetts and Shore.

Sydney Fox
Sydney FoxWestwold, British Columbia
2nd year Animal Science Technology Diploma, Lakeland College

I would like to thank WestGen for selecting me as one of their Education Award recipients. This scholarship will be very helpful in funding my last year in the Animal Science Technology Program at Lakeland College. After graduation, I am returning home to help my parents run the family farm. I plan to apply my education by improving our herd genetics and cow care. I would like to continue my education by taking dairy short courses in British Columbia and in other countries. As I am particularly interested in cow welfare, I would also like to contribute to the dairy industry in that regard in some capacity. In the future, I want to be the proud owner of our family dairy farm that produces wholesome milk with healthy, happy cows.

Michael Haeni
Michael HaeniDidsbury, Alberta
2nd year Agricultural Business Degree, Lakeland College

I am currently attending Lakeland College in the Agricultural Business Program where I am also President of the Lakeland College Dairy Club. I chose Lakeland College as my home for the next two years as their program allows me to choose an individual stream of study – of which I have picked ‘livestock’, and also includes accounting, economics, animal nutrition, and genetics.

Born into the Jersey family, I grew up on the Lone Pine family farm, milking approximately 90 purebred Jerseys. My love for the smaller brown cow began at a very young age showing and milking alongside my family. I continue to be very involved with the farm and currently manage the marketing, advertising, and social media. While always representing the Jersey breed, my 10 years of 4-H success resulted in Junior Champion twice at the club show. One of my most memorable moments was winning Senior Calf and Honorable Mention Grand Champion at the 2015 Western Canadian Classic with Lone Pine Olympian Sensation, a heifer bred and owned by my brothers and I. I also hope to one day be breeding some of the finest Jersey cows in Canada, and while this is a big goal that I’ll have to work hard to achieve, nothing is impossible if you have a great family alongside you.