Lakeland’s Livestock Research Facility officially opens

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October 20, 2016
As a hub for innovation and applied research, Lakeland College’s Livestock Research Facility is officially open for student-led learning
Featuring state-of-the-art technology for livestock research and development, the opening of the facility at the Vermilion campus on Oct. 20 is the culmination of significant support from Judy Sweet. 

Wanting to make a donation in memory of her husband Garth Sweet, who raised purebred Simmental cattle for more than 25 years with their family, Judy reached out to Lakeland in 2014. Since then, Judy has supported the modernization and expansion of the Livestock Research Facility through donations from her family’s Sportaken Holdings and from The Garth Sweet Simmental Foundation. 

“The research that’s being done at Lakeland with cattle is not only great for the industry but more importantly it’s benefiting students. They’re taking charge of incredible research opportunities and learning from the results. We’re proud to be part of this project and to help Lakeland students succeed in this industry,” says Judy. “Garth had a real passion for the Simmental breed and he had a great interest in the research side of Alberta Simmental cattle. Lakeland has been a wonderful organization to work with – they’ve really honoured Garth’s dream.”

Home to 50 head of cattle and the Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland Livestock Research team, the Livestock Research Facility has increased Lakeland’s capacity to participate in applied research projects of importance to the livestock industry in Western Canada. Past projects that have been done in the livestock area include lamb milk replacer, heifer feed efficiency, feeder lamb rotation, beef finishing rations and wet/dry barley feed trials.

“The opening of the Livestock Research Facility is an exciting milestone for Lakeland’s Student-Managed Farm. Thank you to Judy and her family for supporting student-managed experiences,” says Alice Wainwright-Stewart, president of Lakeland College. “With this modern facility, our students have the space and tools necessary to lead current livestock research projects. They’ll gain valuable research experience as they work alongside faculty and industry leaders on innovative research projects.”

The conversion of the former bull test station into the Livestock Research Facility began in 2012 with the installation of GrowSafe technology for monitoring the individual feed intake of animals. The second phase, completed in 2013, was the addition of new cattle and sheep handling systems plus a scale system. The third phase of the modernization project, completed in 2015, was the expansion on the east side of the building to create a demonstration space. The 1,000 square foot area includes washrooms and a lab space.

Lakeland introduced its award-winning SMF concept in 1990. Today, the SMF features crop, dairy, sheep, commercial beef, purebred beef, stewardship and sustainability, crop research and livestock research units.
Photo: To officially open the Livestock Research Facility, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Oct. 20. From left, Casey Finstad, the SMF Livestock Research Team leader, Stewart Ainsworth, Judy Sweet, Darrel Howell, chair of Lakeland's Board of Governors, Alice Wainwright-Stewart, president, and Josie Van Lent, dean of agricultural sciences, had the honour of cutting the ribbon.

October 20, 2016