All beef, no Borat

By Geoff Lee

November 29, 2016 12:00 AM

ON THE RANGE IN KAZAKHSTAN Lakeland College animal science technology instructor, Geoff Brown, left, and students Caity Anderson and Jordan Stefaniuk toured a couple of farms in Kazakhstan in October as part of an Alberta delegation. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Lakeland College hopes to help beef up the cattle industry in Kazakhstan.
Animal science technology students, Caity Anderson and Jordan Stefaniuk, joined an Alberta delegation to that country in late October to help develop Kazakhstan’s industry.
“Not many students get the opportunity to go to another country to explore their industry—it was an amazing experience for me,” said Anderson, who continues to share her experience.
She and Jordan Stefaniuk, both second-year animal science technology students at Lakeland’s Vermilion campus, joined Lakeland instructor Geoff Brown in Kazakhstan.
Brown was Lakeland’s representative in an Alberta delegation that included people from the provincial government and cattle breed associations, as well as livestock exporters.
“Kazakhstan wants to develop its beef industry,” said Brown.
“They’re sitting on the doorstep of India and China, so they see lots of opportunities to export beef and other agricultural commodities to these huge markets.” 
The Kazakhstan government turned to the Alberta and Canadian governments a few years ago for assistance in developing its industry.
It’s the third time since 2013 that Lakeland has been part of a delegation that travelled to Kazakhstan; the first time also included federal representation.
Lakeland’s role is to provide leadership on developing agriculture curriculum and possibly a farm school with various partners in the Kazahk industry.
“They have a very strong university system, but what they’re looking for is practical agriculture training, which is something Lakeland College has excelled at for more than 100 years,” said Brown.
Anderson and Stefaniuk had to apply for trip by writing an essay on what the experience would provide to them personally and professionally, and explain what they would bring back to Lakeland.
Both of the chosen students were tasked with sharing their information about their experience with other students and faculty.
“We now realize that some people are getting by with so little knowledge,” said Stefaniuk.
“What we’re learning here at Lakeland is absolutely invaluable—it makes us appreciate our education that much more.”
During meetings in Kazakhstan, the students provided their insight on being a Lakeland student and the benefits of the learning model provided through Lakeland’s Student-Managed Farm.
The Alberta delegation visited two ranches including Dinara Ranch, which has a 4,000 head feedlot, and 3,800 Herefords.
“They called it a ranch, but they were involved in everything—they also had grain, oilseeds, rice, vegetables, dairy and sheep,” said Anderson.
The massive ranch was the exception, not the rule, as most people have backyard farms with about 10 cows.
Brown discovered many areas of potential partnership involving collaboration on international research projects, sourcing Canadian experts for producer conferences and developing young Kazakh consultants for the expanding agriculture industry.
Next steps include putting together short courses to be offered either in Kazahkstan or at Lakeland
College to “train the trainers” who will be the experts of tomorrow for Kazahk farmers.
“It might make more sense to bring Kazakhs to Lakeland College for training,” said Brown.
“That way we could provide a short course with several Canadian instructors who are teaching in their area of specialty and provide farm tours of local ranches so they can see how cattle are raised in the Canadian system.”

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