Cyle and Erica Stewart from Pine Ranch at Morse have been named Saskatchewan's 2024 Outstanding Young Farmers.

The pair run a commercial cow/calf operation and grass yearlings in the Coteau Hill and have been dealing with a severe drought for the last seven years.

The couple are constantly looking at ways to learn and improve their production practices from soil health to cattle nutrition and low stress handling.

Erica says trying to work through the seven years of drought has been incredibly hard, but they've learned a lot from it, and are working on trying to drought proof the ranch.

"We've been experimenting with some polycrops, like cover-crops. Two years ago even amongst the drought our one blend did really well, and then last year for example, that same blend literally didn't grow at all. We had different timing of our rains so that affected it, grasshoppers were terrible last year. So, to say things have been rough is a struggle or an understatement. Like we literally didn't even grow a crop last year. We had to buy all our feed."

She notes Cyle is also very passionate about the Ranch, working with horses, the stock dogs and incorporating low stress cattle handling techniques into the operation.

"Learning how we can position ourselves in a way that they want to move around us. To set up our handling system in a way that they want to flow through it. It just makes working with cattle a lot more enjoyable and our day a lot more enjoyable as a family. But then also knowing that we're doing like the right thing by our animals too, like especially calves at weaning."

She points out the more stress the animal is under the higher their cortisol level which weakens their immune system and doesn't set things up well when your weaning them, or taking them to the auction mart of feedlot.

The couple are both very accomplished and follow their passions. 

Cyle attended college in Montana on a rodeo scholarship. He currently sits on the Canadian Ranch Roping Association board of directors, is an RM counsellor and sits on the Saskatchewan Agriculture Matters board in an executive position. 

Erika has a degree in Education from the University of Alberta where she played varsity rugby. Erika completed the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program as a mentee, was the inaugural president of the Young Cattlemen’s Council and just completed the CWA’s Next Gen Mentorship Program. Erika is very passionate about advocacy and enjoys sharing the story of beef production with consumers. Currently Erika is the provincial coordinator for the Verified Beef Production Plus program in SK.

The pair have also served as mentors in the Beef Cattle Research Council mentorship program and enjoy competing in Ranch Roping.