Alberta Feedlot Hosts Vaccine Clinic for Employees and Community

Alberta Feedlot Hosts Vaccine Clinic for Employees and Community

It all started with a COVID-19 outbreak in March on VRP Farms in Picture Butte, Alberta. “It was an extremely trying time,” says Jolayne Farn, HR Manager of VRP. “Having 11 confirmed cases and 42 staff off work and quarantined showed us we never wanted to have to operate like that again. Even though we currently had strict control measures in place to help prevent COVID -19 from entering our facilities it still found us.” Farn says it affected everyone from barn crew, pen riders to the management team and the business saw significant impacts. “1 lot had NO riders, 4...Read more

Alberta farm builds labour diversity into its core

Alberta farm builds labour diversity into its core

Is there a better way to find and retain farm employees in Canada’s tough market? Van Raay Paskal Farms figured there must be, with innovative thinking and a readiness to look to non-traditional sources The sun is barely up but VRP Farms Ltd., a half hour north of Lethbridge, is already humming. Pen riders saddle their horses and barn labourers are shipping, sorting and processing. Feed drivers put their trucks in gear, operators of high hoes and manure trucks shuttle about the site, and truck drivers back up to the chutes to begin loading cattle. At the farm shop in nearby Iron...Read more

Picture Butte Approaches Lethbridge County for Pool Funding

Picture Butte Approaches Lethbridge County for Pool Funding

Lethbridge County is considering a request from Picture Butte to provide financial help with their new community pool. During their regular Nov. 1 meeting, Lethbridge County council met with a delegation from the Town of Picture Butte to discuss support for the new Picture Butte community pool. Picture Butte CAO Keith Davis, speaking on behalf of the delegation — which consisted on Picture Butte Mayor Cathy Moore and coun.(s) Joe Watson, Henry de Kok, Teresa Feist and Cynthia Papworth — started off their presentation by explaining that the pool that they are replacing had been in place for over 55 years, and...Read more

Cultural Divide Separates Farmers, Indigenous Workers

Cultural Divide Separates Farmers, Indigenous Workers

Sage Shade rides his horse through the feedlot pens at VRP Farms, checking for cattle that need treatment. It’s spring and the pens are muddy from melting snow and ice, so the job of pen rider isn’t at its most pleasant. Still, Shade says he likes the job and the variety it offers. He is one of 180 employees at VRP and one of only four who are First Nations. Shade grew up on the Kainai (Blood) Reserve in Alberta’s southwest, a part of the Blackfoot Nation. It is the largest native reserve in the province, spanning 351,960 acres, and it is...Read more

Van Raay, Mr. Cornelius (Cor) – 2016 Hall of Fame Inductee

Van Raay, Mr. Cornelius (Cor) – 2016 Hall of Fame Inductee

Mr. Cornelius (Cor) Van Raay’s vision has helped mold the modern day feedlot, and set the bar in the Canadian cattle feeding business. Starting with just 50 head of cattle, the business grew to be one of the largest feedlot operations in Canada. As an innovator and early adopter of technology, Mr. Van Raay implemented best practices and developed unprecedented operational efficiencies in large-scale feedlot operations, while focusing on sound environmental stewardship and improved animal handling techniques. Mr. Van Raay’s “big picture” thinking, intellectual curiosity, and strong work ethic helped launch several successful agri-businesses including Butte Grain Merchants Ltd., Western Tractor,...Read more