By Bobinec, Greg on February 15, 2020.
A southern Alberta youth rancher has received a $20,000 scholarship from 4-H Canada along with a mentorship to help her through her education in agribusiness.
Courtney Taylor of Warner has developed a passion for animals through her family cattle ranch. Growing up with cattle, horses, pigs, sheep and many other animals, Taylor joined two 4-H clubs as soon as she could. After four years of primarily working with sheep and beef, Taylor switched her focus to beef and dairy.
“I have always been involved with 4-H. You can join when you are nine years old but I had an older sister who joined when she was nine and both of my parents did 4-H so it has always been a family thing,” says Taylor. “When my sister started all four siblings got a heifer and so we took our heifers to open shows that we could go and show at, so I started showing mine at age five and started 4-H as soon as I could.”
Dedicated to ranch life, Taylor has been an active member of 4-H through various programs, along with being a community volunteer through various organizations.
When Taylor received the news about the 4-H scholarship, she was taken back as she initially didn’t believe she would get it due to the wide range of experience found across the country. Taylor is excited about the financial assistance to help her through her current education at the University of Saskatchewan. She is looking forward to the experience she will gain through the mentorship.
“To get that news was absolutely incredible because I didn’t think I would have a chance to win with the amount of entries and amount of quality they would get,” says Taylor. “What I am really excited about in this particular scholarship is that you are matched with a mentor you get to phone and talk with, but my mentor is close enough that I get to meet with him in person and I already know him. I am really excited about talking with these industry mentors because there is only so much that you can learn from a book.”
Taylor is working toward her diploma in agribusiness and is excited to complete her education to return home and take some of her learning practices in the classroom and implement them on the family farm.
“Everything changes so often, but something that I have been wanting to do for awhile, and I am really excited to do and hopefully implement as soon as I get home, is I really want to train my sheep to do a little bit of biocontrol,” says Taylor. “I want to train them to eat the weeds that we don’t want and this has worked very well with ranches in southern Alberta with leafy spurge and so I am really hoping to get them to eat young thistle plants. Currently they are pretty well free range and most of the time they will eat the weeds in the stack-yards, but my goal is to be able to send them out further distances and use some specific fencing to keep them into thistle patches in bad areas.”
Through her recent success of enrolling in the university in the program of her dreams and being awarded the 4-H scholarship, Taylor is thankful for all of the people who have helped and pushed her to where she is now and where she will be in the future.
“I would like to extend a thank you to 4-H. I would like to also thank my district, my region and my club because part of the reason why I got this scholarship was I tried to be active in my district and in my club and really make it the absolute best for everyone who was in it, whether I knew them or not,” says Taylor. “It all starts at a club level and no matter how much you choose or choose not to be involved with them or whether you just love the animals like I do, 4-H has a lot of different opportunities and more opportunities at different levels.”
Following graduation, Taylor is hoping to return home to implement some new methods and technologies to help improve the function of the ranch. She is also hoping to extend her relationship with 4-H by becoming a mentor for those just starting in the agriculture industry.
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