EDMONTON — Tyson Hertz grew up with purebred Limousin cattle and is now a sought after judge for livestock shows from Nova Scotia to Victoria.
He and his wife, Callie, are taking over management of 800 purebred cows at Six Mile Red Angus near Fir Mountain, Sask., where he is able to apply everything he learned with his family at Ivy Livestock from Brooks, Alta.
His new mentors are his in-laws, Clayton and Corrine Gibson.
“Corrine is a very good person to learn from on a marketing standpoint,” he said.
“She is a stock woman, so I like learning from her.”
He attended Wyoming State University, where he earned a degree in petroleum engineering. He worked summers in the oil patch but when he graduated in 2015, the industry was faltering. He turned to agriculture.
“I knew my passion was the cattle industry,” he said.
While at Wyoming he joined the university livestock judging team, where he learned about the anatomy of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats. He also learned to stand in a public forum and defend his reasons for his selections in a fair and positive way.
“It is a really educational and really competitive judging program,” he said.
“It is something I really encourage youth in Canada, if they do get an opportunity, to go south of the line to the U.S. collegiate judging. It played a huge role in my development as a judge.”
At Farmfair International, he judged the Simmental and Charolais show where he was able to share his philosophy of the cattle business.
Being a judge of some of the best in the business is an ongoing lesson in diplomacy and is a job he takes seriously.
“It is challenging to be there with your friends and people who were mentors,” he said.
Six Mile is a major operation with a sophisticated marketing program. Judging and showing is a marketing tool for the ranch that puts a face on the crew at Six Mile Angus.
“I like showing cattle, but I like marketing more and I probably like judging the most,” he said.
He prefers the personal approach when he judges and explains his placements. He is always willing to have respectful debates about decisions.
“I take it very seriously on a professional level. It is an honour and a duty,” he said.
At 27, he is part of a new generation taking over the cattle business. This year at Farmfair he was sorting cattle entered by juniors he has known all his life.
“I love to see juniors on the halters. Not only are they better showmen but they know those animals better than their parents,” he said.
“Those kids are the ones working with those cattle after school and on weekends. They are better behaved and the kids have a better bond with the stock.”
His next job will be exhibiting at Agribition, where the family is also running an online auction offering more than 30 head.