Alta. ranch helps fund beef research extension

Edouard Timsit of the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine, second from left, will conduct research made possible by a donation from Christie, Luke and John Simpson.  |  University of Calgary photo

The first Simpson Ranch Chair on Beef Health and Wellness focuses on providing more education to the industry

A $2 million endowment to the University of Calgary’s faculty of veterinary medicine has established the Simpson Ranch Chair in Beef Health and Wellness.

Edouard Timsit, the inaugural chair, has done considerable research into bovine respiratory disease and other production limiting diseases. His primary goal is to provide more extension and education to the beef cattle industry to improve cattle health and wellness.

“We do pretty good at research, but we need to reach out more to producers,” he said.

Timsit perceives a time lag between research and practice on ranches.

“We can use the funds to bring the university and the community together a bit more.”

He also plans to lead major research into the areas of antimicrobial resistance, reproduction, lameness, beef quality and safety, and surveillance and control of production-limiting and zoonotic diseases.

The donation came from Simpson Ranching at Cochrane, Alta. Originally purchased in 1956 by Jack Simpson, the 1,000 head commercial Hereford ranch is now managed by his grandchildren, Christie and Luke Simpson.

Their father, John, was involved early on with the establishment of the veterinary faculty at Calgary and plans were made 10 years ago to fund a research chair. Today Christie sits on the advisory board for the research chair.

“Extension will be a huge part of the success of that chair,” she said.

“This will be a strong way for the university to reach out to all producers of all sizes with extension work to bring current research, current ideas and current practices and to go out to the industry to find out what the industry is struggling with and to solve those problems for them,” she said.

Simpson Ranching has maintained ongoing associations with veterinarians and works with these professionals to make improvements on their operation in vaccine protocols, facility design and overall herd health.

“We have changed a lot of our practices over 25 years because of our access to veterinarians,” she said.

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