April 16, 2018

Ranching family donates $2 million to create beef cattle research chair

Vet Med’s Dr. Edouard Timsit is inaugural Simpson Ranch Chair in Beef Health and Wellness

Alberta’s beef cattle industry will be richer in knowledge thanks to a significant gift from the Simpson family. 

A major research program in beef cattle health launched last week, with the announcement of Dr. Edouard Timsit as the inaugural Simpson Ranch Chair in Beef Health and Wellness. Timsit is pictured above, with other faculty and donors, from left: Dr. Baljit Singh, Luke Simpson, Dr. Edouard Timsit, Christie Simpson, John Simpson and University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon.

Timsit is an assistant professor of cattle health at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM), where he’s developed an internationally recognized research program on Bovine Respiratory Disease, the most common and costly disease affecting the beef cattle industry.

“I see this Chair as a way to tackle some issues that the industry is facing right now, and more specifically I see the funding as a way to fund some applied research,” says Timsit. “And also to do some what we call extension work, to reach out to the community and use this fund to go into the countryside and train producers and see how we can do things better.”

“Alberta is the heart of cattle country and UCVM is proud to partner with the beef cattle industry to find ways to improve cattle health and wellness — and the health of the industry,” says Dr. Baljit Singh, UCVM dean. “That’s why the Simpson family’s investment in beef health research is so vital.”

Dr. Edouard Timsit wants to tackle some of the issues facing Alberta's beef cattle industry, including antimicrobial resistance, zoonotic diseases and beef quality and safety.

Dr. Edouard Timsit wants to tackle some of the issues facing Alberta's beef cattle industry.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Simpson family committed to Alberta's beef industry

John Simpson, who grew up on the cow calf ranch his father established in the foothills near Cochrane in 1956, operates Simpson Ranching along with his children Christie and Luke Simpson. He and his family are committed to Alberta’s beef industry and pride themselves on being on the leading edge of research and technology for the wellness of their own cattle.

“It was about 10 years ago when we started off trying to create this Simpson Ranch Chair in Beef Health and Wellness, and I was concerned that the industry was not moving towards where the consumer was wanting beef to go and I think this is going to do a lot to get us to that point,” Simpson says. “We’ve moved a long way in 10 years but we’ve still got long ways to go.”

University of Calgary faculty and staff, along with members of the beef cattle industry, gathered at the Spyhill campus last week for the announcement of the inaugural Simpson Ranch Chair in Beef Health and Wellness.

The announcement of the inaugural Simpson Ranch Chair in Beef Health and Wellness.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

'A huge benefit to the industry'

With the Chair funding, Timsit will lead a major research program in priority areas including antimicrobial resistance, surveillance and control of production-limiting and zoonotic diseases, reproduction, lameness, and beef quality and safety. He also plans to work closely with the beef cattle community to identify and address emerging issues.

And Christie Simpson believes that community will embrace the work of the new Chair. “To have a partnership with veterinarians who can speak for the industry in a completely unbiased, completely science-based research-based approach is a huge benefit to the industry,” she says.

Simpson Ranch Chair in Beef Health and Wellness