Students adapt and overcome for Beef Day

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March 26, 2020
Beef Day 2020 was a success, despite students facing unprecedented challenges during the final weeks leading up to the annual event.
Beef Day
Beef Day gives students with the Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland (SMF) purebred beef, commercial beef and livestock research units the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge when it comes to weaning, preparing, marketing and selling cattle. In the past, this event brought farmers, ranchers, industry representatives and students together for a dinner and live auction.
This year’s sale wasn’t like previous years. One week before the event, which took place on March 20, the Government of Alberta cautioned against holding events with more than 50 people in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, putting the sale in jeopardy.
“Preparing for Beef Day this year was incredibly stressful,” Robert Geis, general manager of the SMF purebred beef unit, says. “At the beginning of the year, we were given this herd and were responsible for weaning the calves and getting them ready for the Beef Day sale. Marketing them was tough because, with COVID-19, people didn’t want to come out to actually look at them.”

Options after live event cancelled

After the live event was cancelled, Geis says that he and the other students involved had to work through their options to see whether having Beef Day was going to work at all.
“We sat down and thought about our different options,” he says. “We could try to sell the cattle private treaty, which is always difficult when you’re just coming in off the cuff. But we thought about how we already had everything lined up to go through with Beef Day, and after consulting with other producers in the industry, we decided to hold the sale online.”
Moving online itself wasn’t a daunting prospect, because online bids always ran in conjunction with the live auction and the infrastructure for it was already set up. The main concerns they had, according to Geis, was that people wouldn’t be willing to spend money in such a delicate economic environment and that some of their potential customers weren’t comfortable with the online technology. The students added the ability to make phone bids to help mitigate that.

Team created success online

Austin Partington, Beef Day staff advisor, is incredibly impressed with how well they handled the difficult circumstances of the sale.
“Even though most of them returned home, they were still engaged and made phone calls to potential bidders to stir up interest. Three students stayed at the college to make sure everything went according to plan. It was such a team success,” Partington says. “We are so thankful for the bidders and buyers working with us to make this sale such a success.”
In total, the students put 14 Black Angus bulls, six Black Angus replacement heifers, four commercial Angus breds and three Pens Simmental x Angus replacement heifers up for auction. At the end of the day, the bulls went for an average of $4,400, the purebred heifers went for an average of $4,280, the commercial replacement heifers averaged $1,500 and the research-bred heifers averaged $2,050. That’s higher than average for the college.
“It went amazingly well,” Geis says. “We were ecstatic with how it turned out. There are so many producers out there who helped the college out, which is amazing. This entire experience has been really eye-opening. The marketing tactics I’ve learned, the people skills that I’ve picked up – it’s great for the students to learn this way. When I’m done at Lakeland, I’m going to go back home and use these skills on the farm. It’s such a valuable hand-in-glove experience to go through.”
What Students Say
With the Student-Managed Farm you learn to be accountable for what you’re doing and the choices you make. You get an understanding of what it’s like to be out in industry or on a farm making decisions that count.

– Anthony Biglieni

Agribusiness Class of 2006

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Lakeland College has been a integral partner in growing our own through the school of business. As an alumnus of the college, I have first-hand learning experience in the school of business. The professors welcome Servus Credit Union to facilitate classes in the Business Ethics course each year.

– Sandi Unruh

Senior Human Resources Consultant

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Vertex has had great experience bringing on students from Lakeland College. We have found the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management) program to provide students with good academic knowledge of the environmental industry and the criteria that governs the land reclamation

– Sean Fuller B.Sc., P.Ag.

Vice President, Environmental Services, Vertex.

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There is no way I would be where I am today without Lakeland College. It inspired me to be a better person and to get a job in something I love doing. I am so thankful I had such a great experience at Lakeland and I hope future students do as well.

– Danielle Gaboury

Business studies, Class of 2016.

What Students Say
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– Kelly Mykytuk

2nd year UT student, 2017-18

What Alumni Say
Choosing to attend Lakeland College was one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life so far. The welcoming and friendly Lakeland environment encourages a place of excellence, and fosters the ability to be successful not only in school, but in life.

– Mariah Van’t Hof

University Transfer, Class of 2015

What Alumni Say
I have loved my experience at Lakeland. The teachers are personable, and quick to share about their own experiences. They encouraged me to run with my own ideas and see what would happen; they got excited about my designs, which gave me the confidence to do my best and be more creative.

– Payton Ramstead

Class of 2016, Interior Design student.

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At Lakeland College you are guaranteed to have time out of the classroom where you can put everything you learned together and actually see that what you’re learning is relevant.

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Animal Health Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The friendships I made, the experiences we were provided with, and the welcoming atmosphere of the Vermilion Campus made my time at Lakeland extremely valuable and memorable

– Grayden Kay

Animal Science & Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
Lakeland College was a learning environment unlike any other school. It allows students to learn beyond the classroom, and staff and faculty genuinely want to see students succeed. It’s a place where you can feel comfortable asking questions and where everyone has a place and fits in.

– Carson Reid

Agribusiness, Class of 2016.

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The instructors were the highlight of my time at Lakeland. It made a huge impact on my college experience to have instructors who challenged, encouraged, and believed in me.

– Jessica Cadrain

Child & Youth Care, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
At the beginning of my first year, I was really stressed out as I felt I had no artistic ability. But with the instruction and time put in by the interior design faculty, I was able to develop my artistic abilities. Now I am fully confident in and exceeding well in the artistic side of this career!

– Naomi Mason

Interior Design Technology, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I just feel like you get the best education at Lakeland, especially from the time that the instructors can actually spend with you. I like the class sizes too – everything’s been great about my Lakeland experience.

– Dean Coulson

Heavy Equipment Technician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I do give Lakeland College credit for reigniting my interest and even preparing me for Miss Rodeo Canada. Lakeland helped me to grow enough to have the confidence to think I could take on that role and become that person. I think that I have and I am really grateful for that

– Ali Mullin

Agribusiness, class of 2014, former Miss Rodeo Canada.

What Alumni Say
I feel the professors at Lakeland actually prepared me for the profession. It’s impossible to be just a number here when there are 12 students in all of your classes. When the school advertised small class sizes, they actually meant it.

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Real Estate Appraisal and Assessment, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
I was involved in the president’s gala in April where I was an emcee for the evening, it was a great experience, and I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to everyone.”

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HOPE Power Engineering, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I would recommend Lakeland College for the simple fact that it's for everybody. As a mature student who went back to school much later than his 18th year, I was immediately accepted, and not ostracized in the least

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Accounting Major, Class of 2016.

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All the hands-on learning was great and very helpful once placed into the industry. Having clients leave with a smile after each service assured me that I was in the right field of work. I would recommend Lakeland to anyone.

– Courtnee Coolidge

Esthetician, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
The professors care so much about their students at Lakeland and are able to know each and every one of them by name, so much so that they are able to nominate a ton of students for awards.

– Stephanie Wakefeild

University Transfer, Class of 2016.

What Alumni Say
They really put you in the lead at Lakeland. Lakeland cares about its students, empowers them, and gives them opportunities to achieve their goals. I don’t see Lakeland as a stepping stone or a first step – I see it as a bridge and an integral part of my education.

– Alyssa Wells

University Transfer, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
I wanted to get experience in the field of assessment as it would give me exposure to what it’s like day to day. It was an invaluable experience as I find it hard to imagine what it would be like working in a particular field or area until I’m doing the work.

– Sheldon Farrell

Real estate appraisal and assessment, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
In the campus spa, they give you time to work with each client so nothing is rushed and you’re able to concentrate on providing the best service you can to your client.

– Daphney Couturier

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Alumni Say
It’s going to be a lot easier to start our first jobs having this experience and having been able to build our confidence in the campus spa. I love that we get to have this opportunity.

– Darby Watchel

Esthetician, Class of 2017.

What Employers Say
Lakeland is a great place to find employees. The college provides real world training that equips soon-to-be employees with knowledge and people skills that are highly sought after in the agriculture industry these days.

– Dustin Dinwoodie

Key Account Manager – Western Canada Arysta LifeScience

What Alumni Say
The hands-on field trips, quality of education i received, professors who are invested in your success, and all the friends I made. I exceeded my academic expectations and I also had a lot of fun. If i had to do it all over gain, i would choose Lakeland!

– Nicole (Audet) Pysh

Class of 2006, Environmental Protection & Class of 2008, Applied Environmental Degree