Manitoba Angus Association

Awards and Honours

Purebred Breeder of the Year

Nominations for Manitoba Purebred Breeder of the Year are accepted during the Annual General Meeting each year and are voted on by the membership at the meeting. The winner is presented with their award at an event of their choice and they are featured in an issue of The Outlook newsletter.

Purebred Breeder of the Year – The VanDaele Award

Nominations will be received by mail or email by December 3, 2021 and from the floor at the AGM on a date that is TBD. Nominations will then be posted, and a vote taken to determine the winner. Some general guidelines to keep in mind during the nominations and voting. The recipient should be a person or persons who:

    1. Represents and promotes angus cattle in general, to the best of their ability
    2. Produces quality cattle that meets market demand
    3. Contributes to the affairs of the Association & volunteers time towards association events.

These are guidelines and if a member does not meet all of the criteria but you feel they should be considered for this award, please submit your nomination. Many people contribute to the promotion of the Purebred Angus herd in various ways, so please give this some careful thought. Also please give consideration to small and large operations both new and established.

Please send in your nominations via email or by mail to Box 172 Pierson, R0M 1S0 by December 3 or bring them to the meeting.

Rooke Farms - The Rooke Family
Rooke Farms - The Rooke Family

2020 Purebred Breeder of the Year: Rooke Farms - The Rooke Family

We are both honoured and proud to be receiving the 2020 Manitoba Angus Purebred Breeder of the Year.

Our association with the Angus breed dates back to the early days of Daniel and Penny’s married years in the 90s. Their farming journey together started with the fattening of Angus steers for contracts into high-end retail outlets across southern England. From there they chose to base their commercial cow/calf operation with an Angus wheelbase while introducing Simmental and Hereford genetics. 16 years later our family had grown to four – Daniel, Penny, George and Alice – all having our own passions within our mixed farming operation. At that point we had created a sizable farming and events enterprise but were looking to continue our journey in a place with more opportunities. In the late summer of 2013 we landed in Alexander, Manitoba. As a first generation farming family on the Canadian prairies we had much to learn but already knew Angus was the way to go. With a small herd of black Agnus females, we started to work towards the creation of a cow/calf herd that would soon turn predominantly red and incorporate the valued Simmental hybrid cross. The fall of 2014 saw the first generation of purebred Red Angus heifers arrive from the good folks of High Caliber Red Angus in Whitewood, Saskatchewan.

Today we run a herd of 300 calving cows of which 90 function as purebred Red Angus and the rest are Angus cross Simmental commercials. We have also created a backgrounding and fattening program from which we privately supply Henry Meats butchers north of Brandon. Additionally, we grain farm and offer full-line custom services from planting to forage harvesting.

Our purebred seedstock program continually strives to incorporate new genetics with productivity and performance at the forefront. With our complete cattle program we have a thorough understanding of what our customers need to see at calving time that will match up to what guys want hung on the rail at the end. Calving ease, vigor, growth and productivity are only a few of the golden Angus traits that we value here in our program and are excited to share with our customers.

All our bulls are sold private treaty here in the yard at Alexander and we can’t wait to present the spring 2021 bull crop. With outcross genetics coming from sire groups such as Red DKF Titanium 116D, Red RRA Only & Only and our walking herd sire Moose Creek Birnie 253E, there is something for everyone. Fed on a forage-based diet, the sale bulls are developed to go to work and can be proven by their use in our own commercial herd. We encourage that anyone interested in information on the 2021 bull offering get in touch with us anytime – we always welcome visits and viewing of any of the cattle!

With Alice in her second year of Agribusiness at the University of Manitoba and George passionate in producing high-quality cattle feed, the future looks exciting for our cattle program. We have high hopes for the 2021 summer show season where we can showcase the latest progeny while having a few laughs.

Thank you to the association for nominating us for the award and to all our friends and customers that have supported us in our journey so far. We thoroughly enjoy being a part of the Angus community and look forward to many more years to come.

Congratulations! Being named the 2020 Breeder of the Year is a reward well deserved.

Commercial Producer of the Year

Nominations for the Commercial Producer of the Year are accepted from the membership each year and are decided on by the board. The winner is presented with their award at the Annual General Meeting or a mutually agreed upon event as well as announced on our social media channels, website and featured in an issue of The Outlook.

Commercial Producer of the Year

Attention Purebred Angus Breeders! Think about your Commercial Cattlemen who have a strong Angus influence in their herd.

There are many commercial cattlemen across Manitoba who have used Angus bulls or have had a mainly Angus cow herd for years with great dedication. The MB Angus Association would like to recognize more of these cattlemen. Please take the time to think about this and send in your nomination for the commercial producer who uses Angus Bulls. Nominations will be received by mail or email (the deadline is November 30, 2021) and selection will be made by the board. The recipient will be notified of the award and invited to attend the AGM, where a presentation will be made. This is a chance to recognize a dedicated producer. Please provide a brief history on the individual with the nomination.


Please send in your nominations to MB Angus Association via email or by mail to Box 172 Pierson, R0M 1S0 by November 30.

The Atkinson Family
The Atkinson Family

2020 Commercial Producer of the Year: The Atkinson Family - Neepawa, MB

In 1990, Tony and Sue Atkinson, along with their four children, moved to the Neepawa area from England. Like many others drawn to the Canadian prairies, they were looking for better opportunities for themselves and their children. From the start of their time in Canada, they ran a mixed commercial herd as part of their diversified farm.
Following downsizing during BSE, in 2006, Tony and Sue purchased 50 commercial Black Angus Heifers, choosing these cows to begin building an improved herd. That same year, their son Matthew and his now wife Kate moved to the area from Vancouver, purchasing a farm three miles away. Growing up, Matthew was always involved in the cattle operation. Back in Manitoba, he worked in the community pasture system— first for PRFA and then managing the Langford Community Pasture for AMCP.

From those 50 heifers, the Atkinsons utilized Black Angus and Horned Hereford bulls, with an emphasis on maternal traits and the goal of producing quality Black Angus and black baldy commercial females. Today, almost all of the cattle in their herd trace back to these heifers. Wanting to build their own herd, Matthew and Kate purchased many of the heifers from Tony and Sue. In the subsequent years, they have grown their herd— purchasing more heifers and retaining quality animals produced by their own program. Today, combined, both families run about 350 cows in their cow-calf operation.

Tony and Sue, along with their eldest son Simon, also buy and sell large qualities of sheep, lambs and goats, mostly through their feed yard at Brandon. But the cattle remain their great passion.

As Matthew, Kate and their daughter Evelyn have grown their operation, Matthew felt it was important to give back to the industry. He is a director with Manitoba Beef Producers and sits on the Keystone Agricultural Producers’ Livestock and Young Farmer committees. Black Angus genetics have been instrumental in producing the family’s desired animal— a hardy cow, with good mothering instincts, a good udder and calving ease, and lively calves. These traits are vital when the calves are born in late April and May on pasture, in the rugged
Riding Mountain Escarpment.

As the family looks to keep progressing and improving the land on which they farm, they have moved towards more rotational grazing, reduced tillage, the use of cover crops and feeding winter forages, including standing corn and stockpiled grass. While their operation is strictly cow-calf, they try to work with neighbouring grain farmers to create win-win situations, by baling a variety of straws and stubble grazing.

The two farms work together to better utilize genetics and grazing at different times of the year. The goal is to produce high quality females with good longevity, while improving their land and soils for the next generation

Congratulations to the Atkinsons on being named Commercial Producer of the Year!

Manitoba Honourary President

The Honourary President is elected by the membership during the Annual General Meeting. The title of Honourary President is given for recognition without the usual requirements, duties, and privileges that formally go along with the role of the president. A pin is presented to the recipient at the Canadian Angus Association Annual General Meeting or at a venue of their choice. They are recognized in the The Outlook as well as the CAA Annual Report.

Howard McRae
Howard McRae

2020 Honourary President: Howard McRae, Mar Mac Farms - Brandon, MB

Howard McRae served as President of the Manitoba Angus Association in 1957 and as vice president in 1956. He also founded the South Brandon 4-H Beef Club in 1952, an organization that was active for 60 years.

Howard and his family operation Angus Valley exhibited the Grand Champion Bull, Estons Pride of Angus Valley and the Grand Champion Female, Pride of AV of Canada at the 1957 Brandon Winter Fair.

In the summer of 1957, the McRae family hosted the Manitoba Angus Association Tour, a very successful event attended by 650 people from across the province. The McRae family organized workshops and demonstrations for all those in attendance and provided a barbecue beef supper.

Howard was a tireless supporter and promoter of the Angus breed and showed steers and breeding cattle across Canada. He had an idea to select Angus show cattle from breeders and take a show string on the western show run to Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina. What a great undertaking for Howard to organize these events and a great promotion for the Manitoba Angus breeders.

Unfortunately Howard and two of his sons were killed in a car accident in 1970. Two sons, Doug and Bruce, survived. After man years, Howard’s youngest son Bruce has restarted the Angus Valley herd name with a small herd of Angus in the Manitou area.

Howard McRae was a well-respected leader and loved Angus cattle.

Congratulations to Howard McRae on being named Honourary President!