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Local donation to transform veterinary education

Rocky View County’s J.C.
Veterinary advances
J.C. Anderson (left) and his daughter Wynne Chisholm recently donated their 19,000-acre cattle ranch operation to the Unversity of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, which will be used by students and researchers to advance the study of animal science.

Rocky View County’s J.C. (Jack) Anderson and his daughter Wynne Chisholm faced a dilemma – what to do with their 19,000-acre cattle ranch once they retire? No one in the next generation of the family had pursued a career in agriculture, but Anderson and Chisholm wanted to ensure the ranch would remain an agricultural operation. “We have an awesome farming and ranching operation and we wanted to protect it, so we wanted to see what we could do that would make W.A. Ranches continue operating and would have employment for each of our staff members on an ongoing basis,” Chisholm said. With this in mind, the pair donated W.A. Ranches – located between Cochrane and Calgary – to the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM). “We’re hoping – and I think the university will – to create a world-leading centre of excellence in beef cattle research,” Chisholm said. “We expect the gift will transport the teaching, research and outreach experiences at UCVM, and it will empower faculty and students to create and share scientific, evidence-based discoveries that will not only improve animal care, they’ll enhance our industry.” Anderson and Chisholm have a long-standing relationship with the university. “We’ve been involved with the UCVM since before they even had students. We’ve had them out to our ranch over the years, at different times of year, for hands-on experience with cattle,” Chisholm said. “We endowed a chair in animal care and welfare several years ago. Through those various relationships, we were aware that UCVM was missing a dedicated cattle ranch or farm for research teaching and outreach.” As a result, UCVM was forced to send students to a variety of area facilities, which Chisholm said leads to an entirely different set of problems. “It can create some uncertainty around the feasibility of research projects and grant money and so on,” she said. “It hampered the recruitment of students and faculty, and the growth of that program.” The $44-million donation includes the land and infrastructure – approximately 1,000 head of cattle, and equipment, according to Chisholm. The family will continue to own and live in homes adjacent to the donated property. “The ranch will provide a platform for collaboration with other faculties, industry and the public sector to foster interdisciplinary learning and research, and the development of an international centre of excellence in beef cattle health,” said Dr. Baljit Singh, Dean of UCVM, in a Sept. 21 release. More information about the gift can be found on the UofC’s website,

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