Manitoba Cattle Rancher Wins Trip of a Lifetime

Aug 06, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen,

[Updated August 10, 2014]

A Canadian beef cattle producer is to take the trip of a lifetime after winning a video-blog competition to participate in the 2014 Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) tour in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, at the beginning of October.

Brett McRae from Brandon, Manitoba, of Mar Mac Farms, along with his family, raise a little over 200 purebred Simmental and Angus cattle and grow 1000 acres of grain and oilseeds crops.

The 27-year-old represents the fifth generation of cattle ranchers in his family. The family farm has been passed down through generations since 1885.

When McRae received the call that he had won “I was half shocked and the other part of me was excited,” he said in an interview with

Contest entries could include writing, photography, video or a combination of the three. But McRae chose to narrate his story in a video-blog (v-blog) format. The blog topic was entitled: “A Day in the Life of a Beef Producer.”

From the time that he received the invite to participate in the blog contest, the v-blog took him about a week to complete. McRae says he invested a lot of time and research into determining how he wanted to tell his story. Research included looking at other videos on YouTube and developing a script.

The actual production of the video took about a day, but McRae says he couldn’t have done it without the help of his sister Melissa McRae, who is a pro at making videos. She owns her own company called Prairie Pistol Designs.

McRae says he is thankful for the support that he has received from family and friends, and highlighted the value of the Cattlemen Young Leaders Program (CYL).

The CYL program coordinator Jolene Noble encouraged CYL mentees to enter into the blog competition. McRae is one of 16 young cattlemen (and women) who were selected for a professional development mentorship experience.

Applicants were asked to share their day-to-day operations and what is involved in bringing beef to the dinner table.

McRae will represent Canada at the FNBA weeklong tour October 4 to 11, 2014.  The five nations of FNBA account for 1/3 of the global beef production.

“I am most looking forward to seeing the different operational designs,” explained McRae, adding that he is especially interested in the production side of the cattle business.

Countries include: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico and the United States. The conference is held in a different country each year, last year it was in Australia and this year it is in the United States.

Winners from each of the five countries will be given the opportunity to share their ideas about the issues facing the beef cattle industry globally.  

Stuart Somerville, a beef producer from Endiang, Alberta will be joining McRae at the FNBA conference. Somerville’s winning entry can be read on the FNBA website.

In McRae’s winning entry, he shares his optimism about the beef cattle industry and discusses some of the opportunities and challenges facing the beef sector in Canada. His v-blog can be viewed below:

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