Frequently Asked Questions

Canadian Cattle Young Leaders (CYL) is not a traditional mentorship program - you will find it flexible and tailored to what you want to experience. The Canadian CYL Program gives young leaders a chance to team up with industry experts, make connections and provide valuable input to industry.

Answering Your Questions


What is the objective of this program?
Today's youth of the beef industry are actively contributing to the climate change solution, building a legacy for future successors, and continuously looking for ways to enhance resiliency and drive growth in Canada's beef cattle sector. The objective of this program is to encourage young people to become engaged and take action in the Canadian beef cattle industry.

Who is eligible to apply to the program?
The Canadian CYL Program is open to all young people ages 18 – 35 that are passionate about the Canadian beef industry. You do not have to own cattle or be a cattle producer to participate in the program, as it’s open to young people involved in all aspects of the beef supply chain. We strongly value diversity amongst applicants where all are welcome to apply, as it plays a key role in young leaders gaining exposure to new ideas and creating peer learning experiences.

What events do CYLs attend?
During their mentorship, program participants (CYLs) have the opportunity to attend a wide range of events. Participants can attend events through the use of their travel budget awarded to support their learning, or through other opportunities offered through the program. Examples of events CYLs have used their budgets towards include provincial beef industry conferences and meetings, Canadian Cattle Association meetings, grazing workshops and field days, numerous industry-leading conferences, and virtual industry events and workshops. Outside of CYL budget use, the program also traditionally features an annual Spring Forum event, where program participants gather for industry tours, training and the opportunity to connect with program sponsors. This has typically been a 2-3-day event hosted in the Calgary, AB area in the May-June timeframe. In addition, CYLs are invited to attend their program graduation at the following Canadian Beef Industry Conference to conclude the program year. Participation and programming may be impacted by public health measures in place during the program in the various places events occur. The program cannot guarantee that these measures will not impact events, or ability to access events, for participants.

How much are the travel budgets granted to CYLs?
We are sincerely grateful to our Foundation Partner, Cargill, who is helping us increase travel budgets for the upcoming program year and support our program mentors!

Cargill has been a tremendous partner since the inception of the Canadian CYL Program as the very first program sponsor. Through Cargill’s global grant matching program, the 2024-2025 program year will see each participant have access to a $3000 travel budget, an increase of $1000 for each participant. Starting in August 2024, Cargill’s increased support will also be used to help fund mentors’ attendance at the annual CYL Graduation at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference with their mentee. The CCA looks forward to this continued partnership with Cargill to build a sustainable industry though investing in a strong generation of young leaders.

Are there international opportunities for the CYLs?
The program strives to provide unique international travel opportunities for youth to represent the Canadian beef industry and enrich their mentorship experience. This can be through the use of participants' travel budget to help support travel costs, or when possible, selecting delegates to attend international industry events to represent youth in the Canadian beef industry. International events CYLs have attended in the past include the National Western Stock Show, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Annual Convention, and the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef. In addition, there are traditionally tours, young producer roundtables and various meetings scheduled around these events which allow CYLs participants to make the most of these trips and establish meaningful connections with beef producers in other nations.

What do the mentorships focus on?
CYLs work with their mentors to establish a unique learning road map that outlines key areas of interest and learning objectives of the mentee. Throughout the course of the mentorship, the mentee builds a knowledge and skill base in these key areas through conversations with their mentor, attending industry events and networking with other leaders and peers in industry. Examples of past mentorship focus areas include industry advocacy, sustainable grazing practices, agriculture technology, business management and financial literacy, cattle genetics, feedlot production, marketing strategies, livestock handling techniques, and much more.

Who are the CYL mentors?
Program participants are matched with industry leaders that have knowledge, experience and skills in the participant’s area of interest. The list of past mentors is very diverse and can be found on our website under our Participant Spotlight page.

What is the time commitment to be a participant?
The Canadian CYL Program is not a traditional mentorship program. Participants will find it flexible and tailored to what they want to experience. Mentors will dedicate a minimum amount of time to activities within a pre-determined time frame to share skills, experiences and opportunities with mentees. In order to complete the program, the mentee will need to exhibit comprehension and proficiency in the areas of learning, where mentors and mentees are encouraged to connect once every other week. The program includes graduation requirements such as a public speaking objective, completing the Beef Advocacy Canada program, Verified Beef Production Plus training, and a minimum requirement for meeting with your mentor.

Throughout the year, there will also be various program orientation calls to review travel information as needed and select mentors. CYLs also work with their mentor to build a road map document to guide their mentorship goals and report on key learning outcomes. They may also be asked to submit content for program reporting or social media content from time to time. The program also traditionally offers a few virtual events to take advantage of throughout the program year.

Below is a breakdown of what participants can typically expect if selected to participate in the program:



Are travel costs covered?
Thanks to the generous support of our program partners, the Canadian CYL Program covers the cost of participation at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference, the annual Spring Forum event, and additional domestic and international travel opportunities as they may arise. CYLs are also granted a $3,000 travel budget to put towards travel to see their mentor, or various industry events or training of their choice. Any overages for activities CYLs use their travel budgets towards are covered personally.

What is the duration of a mentorship?
The successful mentees will be selected at the annual Canadian Beef Industry Conference in August and will be introduced to their mentor in November. The mentorship typically concludes at the end of July followed by a graduation ceremony at the following Canadian Beef Industry Conference. Graduates of the program are eligible to participate in select Canadian CYL Program events after their official mentorship is completed.

How do I apply to the program?
Program applications are available on our website and generally open in early January and close in late March. Visit the ‘Apply’ page to access the application and see this year’s official opening and closing submission dates.

What happens if I get selected as a semi-finalist?
Applicants will receive an email response typically in the May-June time frame notifying them if they have been selected as a semi-finalist. Each year, 24 semi-finalists are selected from submitted applications and invited to participate in the annual Canadian CYL Selections competition. The competition is traditionally held in conjunction with the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in August, where semi-finalists are offered an expense paid trip to participate. At the Selections competition, a judging team made up of representatives from our generous program sponsors will help select the 16 finalists who will be awarded a spot in the program for the upcoming year.

Partnership Program

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