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Kayla Weston to lead Young Cattlemen’s Council

Kayla Weston of Fort Macleod is the new president of the Young Cattlemen’s Council.

The Young Cattlemen’s Council board members. From left: Geoffrey Larkin, Evan Chaffe, Jessica Sperber, Stefan Bouw, Holly Thompson, Ian Launder, Kayla Weston and Ethan David.

A Fort Macleod woman is the new president of the Young Cattlemen’s Council.
Kayla Weston was elected earlier this month to a two-year term to lead the organization made up of people aged 18 to 35 years with an interest in beef cattle.
“I hope to create more opportunities for young people to be a part of the industry,” the 23-year-old Weston said of goals for her term as president. “Right now, to go and buy land and start a cattle operation from scratch is nearly impossible. I am hoping as a board we can come up with some creative solutions that we can bring forward to help make it more possible.”
“One focus we have right now is trying to develop a system that can help connect young producers who want to own cattle and be active in the industry with older producers who want to retire but don’t have any family members to take over for them.”
Weston developed her interest in cattle growing up on her family’s cow-calf operation.
After graduating from F.P. Walshe school, Weston enrolled in the Large Animal Science program at Lethbridge College.
Through the college Weston worked on a feedlot and as a brand inspector for Livestock Investigation Services.
Following graduation from Lethbridge College, Weston became manager of Livestock Veterinary Services and took on the added role of southern Alberta instructor for the Farm Safety Centre.
At present, Weston works at Fort Macleod Veterinary Clinic, and is office manager at Weston Manufacturing Ltd. a business she operates with her husband Clint Weston. The couple is also involved with the family cattle operation.
Weston wanted to extend her involvement in the industry and became a zone delegate for the Alberta Beef Producers.
“They were looking for young people to get involved, and I was excited for the opportunity to learn more about the industry,” Weston said.
The Alberta Beef Producers appointed Weston as the provincial delegate on the Young Cattlemen’s Council, a role she willingly accepted.
“I wanted to be a voice for young producers who want to be a part of the industry, but don’t have a generation ranch that is going to be passed down to them,” she explained. “I am in that situation personally, and right now to get started on my own is nearly impossible.”
“Land prices are the highest that industry has ever seen, and we need to start looking for outside of the box options.”
Weston has served on the Young Cattlemen’s Council’s animal health and welfare committee, which has focused on traceability, disease management and the new transportation regulations.
The Young Cattlemen’s Council is meant to provide mentorship to young people while exposing them to the way the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association operates.
Young Cattlemen’s Council members learn about policy and governance and how to be productive board members, while being good, young representatives for the industry.
Moving up to president of the Young Cattlemen’s Council seemed a logical move for Weston, who has an interest and aptitude for leadership.
“Having the opportunity to step up and serve the young beef producers of Canada is quite the privilege,” Weston said. “After being exposed to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and how they operate for the industry, I see this as an excellent step to work my way into one of the positions on the CCA board one day.”
As president, Weston will represent the Young Cattlemen’s Council board at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association level, serving on the executive board.
She will support the rest of the Young Cattlemen’s Council members in networking opportunities and committee work.
Weston urged other young people interested in the cattle industry to get involved with the Young Cattlemen’s Council, saying the investment of time pays huge dividends.
“It is an amazing opportunity to network with people in the industry,” Weston said. “Being surrounded by people who share the same passion for beef is really something special.”
“It is also a great way to be exposed to the way CCA operates, and a great opportunity for mentorship. The average age of ranchers in Alberta, or even Canada is over 55. As they begin to retire, we need young people to step into those roles.”
Stepping into the role of an aging rancher is something Kayla and Clint Weston have on their minds.
They hope one day to make contact with local ranchers who plan to retire but don’t have anyone in the family to take over the operation.
“It would mean so much,” Kayla Weston said. “Being raised on the farm, I have always hoped to one day have the opportunity to raise my future family on the farm as well. When I have kids, I want them to have the same up bringing as I did.”

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