WestGen is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 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.

Rachel Boonstoppel
Rachel BoonstoppelGrunthal, Manitoba
2nd year Animal Science Technology Diploma – Dairy, Lakeland College

I would like to thank WestGen for choosing me as a recipient for this Education Award which will help support my passion for the dairy industry. I was born and raised on a small dairy farm in Scotch Lake, New Brunswick until the spring of 2015 when my family sold and bought a larger dairy farm in Grunthal, Manitoba. My passion for the dairy industry was fuelled by my involvement in 4-H, EastGen Showcase and WCC. I have been fortunate to participate in the TD 4-H Classic, National 4-H Dairy Conference and WestGen’s 2016 Brazil farm tour.

My future educational plans include a potential work/study tour of New Zealand, as well I plan on gaining an Ag-Business diploma once finished my diploma here at Lakeland. I also plan to continue to work on improving the genetics of our herd and one day own a dairy farm of my own.

Lars Iversen
Lars IversenOlds, Alberta
3rd year Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness,
University of Saskatchewan

I am currently attending the University of Saskatchewan, in my third year of a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. Growing up on Innislake Dairy, our family farm just outside of Olds AB, where we milk 70 Holstein cows I developed the same passion of milking functional and well pedigreed animals from my father Eric and Uncle John. My educational path has also developed my keen interest in the economics and business side of agriculture. I plan on combining these two interests and bring them back to the family farm.

I would like to thank WestGen for the selecting me as one of the recipients of the Education Awards along with the opportunity I had as a summer student with them in British Columbia. I learned a lot about the genetics industry and sales side of their business. Being part of 4-H and the Western Canadian Classic was a great experience and expanded my passion for agriculture. WestGen is a huge supporter of the future generations of dairy farmers through their continuous sponsorship of 4-H and the Western Canadian Classic.

Angela Grob
Angela GrobQuesnel, British Columbia
1st year Bachelor of Animal Science – Agriculture and Bioresources, University of Saskatchewan

I am grateful to WestGen for choosing me as a recipient for this Education Award. I grew up in Quesnel BC, and was actively involved in a family operated mixed farm that included dairy, cow-calf, and farrow-finish swine aspects. My background fostered my interest in the understanding of how animal health and welfare contributes to their overall productivity.

Currently, I am enrolled in the Animal Biosciences program at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Outside of school I milk a few evening shifts per week and work part-time at the Prairie Swine Centre. In the future I hope to enter the Veterinary Medicine program and focus my studies on production animals, especially dairy and beef cattle.

Nicki Meier
Nicki MeierAbbotsford, British Columbia
1st year, Animal Science Technology Diploma, Lakeland College

Growing up on my parents dairy farm in Abbotsford, BC, I learned to love the dairy industry at a young age. I was always in the barn as much as I could. I joined the Sumas Holstein 4-H club 10 years ago, and have made many memories along the way. I held many positions in the club over the years, I gained so much knowledge, had countless opportunities and built priceless friendships. This year I look forward to finishing and earning my 10 year buckle. Although an avid farm kid, I was also very busy with school activities, where I played soccer, rugby and sang. I started singing at a very young age at many events in our community. I believe all of these activities as a whole, helped me in my growing years to become the person that I am today.

Over the years I continued to learn many avenues of farming. From the cows, to the fields, the industry, working in a team environment, and understanding what it means to be a dairy farmer. All of this helped me in my decision to attend Lakeland College in Vermilion, AB after I graduated high school in June of 2017. I am currently enrolled and taking the Animal Science program, as I felt it would help further my education in a broad range of topics within the agriculture industry. As a member of the Lakeland College Dairy Club, I have enjoyed interacting with fellow students who have the same interests as I do. We have toured many farms and it has been very interesting seeing farm life in Alberta. One of my favourite courses is the Animal Handling and Facilities class. This has helped me to better understand how cattle move and has allowed me a better understanding of how to work with them. Next fall I plan to be a part of the Lakeland Dairy’s Student Managed Farm team. I am excited to combine my ideas with those around me to create an efficient dairy operation. I cannot wait for this summer however to get back home and help my family on the farm and finish my final summer of 4-H. In the future, however, I look forward to being a part of my family’s operation and contribute to maintain happy and healthy cows. I am so grateful for the WestGen Education Award, as this helps me to attend school without the added pressure of finances. Thank you so much.