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  • Vermilion Voice

Lakeland’s New Livestock Research Facility

From left, SMF Livestock Research Team Leader Casey Finstad, Stewart Ainsworth, Judy Sweet, Chair of Lakeland's Board of Governors Darrel Howell, Lakeland College President and CEO Alice Wainwright-Stewart, and Dean of Agricultural Sciences Josie Van Lent during the ribbon cutting for the official opening of the Vermilion Lakeland College Livestock Research Facility on October 20. Photo submitted

Students and dignitaries gathered at the official opening of the ‘Livestock Research Facility’ at Lakeland College in Vermilion on October 20.

“Our roots began over 100 years ago in 1911 when the demonstration farm at what would be the Vermilion School of Agriculture showed examples of mixed farming operations. The generous donation of Judy Sweet and her family allowed for this remarkable facility. Our student - led operations are now able to go further with innovative research; using the cutting edge technology, they can determine which types of trials would most benefit the industry,” said Lakeland College President and CEO, Alice Wainwright-Stewart.

In memory of her husband Garth Sweet, Judy donated funds from both Sportaken Holdings and The Garth Sweet Simmental Foundation.

“Garth had a great interest in the research of Alberta Simmental cattle. With the modernization and expansion of this facility, Lakeland College has really honoured Garth’s dream,” said Sweet.

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, 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.

From left, Kaci Heagy, Nikki Bender, and Amanda Mathiot show the 100g Barley silage test samples to visitors, explaining that when they measure the percentage of dry matter, they are able know what the cattle are actually getting. Photo Angela Mouly

Lakeland College’s Student Managed Farm houses 50 head of cattle among other livestock. The new facility allows for growth and students to participate in more applied research projects. Past projects include lamb milk replacer, heifer feed efficiency, feeder lamb rotation, beef finishing rations, and wet/dry barley feed trials.

Director of Applied Research and Innovation, Diane Harms, said the new facility offers space for students to handle cattle as well as host industry extension events. It lays the foundation for growth and productivity in a really crucial industry for Canada.

“This is a milestone for Lakeland College and the livestock industry,” said Harms.

For more information, you can visit

One of the five Lakeland College heifers selected to go to Farm Fair in Edmonton from November 9 - 13. Photo Angela Mouly

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