Twenty-year-old Tyra Fox has become the public face of Justamere Ranch and is determined to keep the name alive
DENVER, Colo. — Evidence of Tyra Fox’s purebred cattle career shows up in a picture from Farmfair International in Edmonton, where her father, Jonathan Fox, is seen giving the two-year-old a cuddle behind the family’s champion bull.
A fifth generation member of the Justamere Ranch family, the 20-year-old is now the official exhibitor for the family, which has been recognized for high quality Hereford and Angus genetics around the world.
“I love it. I like everything about it,” she said.
Family and the farm at Lloydminster, Sask., mean everything to her. A pre-veterinary medicine student at Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alta., there is time every morning for chores before she drives across the border to classes.
Her ultimate goal is to enter the veterinary program at Oklahoma State University, where she hopes to become a large animal practitioner specializing in embryology.
She entered the show ring at the age of seven and started leading out cattle on her own when she was 12.
“My dad said, ‘you are a natural and you are going to be my new show person.’ ”
Fox is the public face of Justamere Ranch, representing the family operation along with her brother, Jon, and younger sister, Jorga. Another brother, Jim, is more interested in the grain and hay side of the farm.
The family runs about 250 purebred Black Angus cows, and one of her duties is handling artificial insemination.
Every August, Tyra, her father and her brother select the next show string of heifers and bulls. Some of the animals will go into the family’s production sale, some sold for 4-H calves and others will be shown.
The farm was established 100 years ago, and there are legacy cow families carrying the Justamere name.
The Fox family has always been heavily involved in the agriculture community.
Tyra is taking over the torch and is currently president of the Saskatchewan Junior Angus Association and vice-president of the national youth organization. She is still a 4-H member.
Involved with the Saskatchewan juniors for 12 years, she sees considerable personal benefit.
“They taught me a lot,” she said.
“They gave me a lot of confidence. I look at myself as a leader and I love taking charge and helping kids. The future of our breed is the kids so I like to help them and mentor them.”
The cattle business also allows her to travel and see how the beef industry is run across Canada and the United States.
This year she and her brother showed Justamere cattle at the National Western Stock Show, which was held in Denver, Colorado, Jan. 12-27.
Attending a big show is educational and builds connections. The family also showed at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto and the North American Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I like networking and meeting people,” she said.
“Americans do it a lot differently, and it is cool to see the differences and the similarities.”
Ultimately the best connection is her family, which has spread into Manitoba, where another branch runs Polled Herefords. An uncle works for JBS at Brooks, Alta.
The cousins and siblings want to keep the Justamere name alive.
When she interviewed to become an Angus ambassador, the judges commented on her commitment to family. That was seen as honourable when so many farms consolidate or sell out to other interests. She has watched friends decide to leave the farm and is sorry for that loss.
“Me and my siblings will keep it going,” she said.
The next generation of Foxes has big shoes to fill.
Her great- grandfather, Jonathan Fox, received numerous accolades for his work as a livestock expert and was named to six halls of fame, including the Canadian and Saskatchewan Agriculture Halls of Fame. Her grandfather, Lyal, was named to the Saskatchewan Livestock Hall of Fame and the Canadian Hereford Honour Roll for contributions to the livestock industry and community.