Aug. 28, 2018
UCalgary veterinarian, scholar and mentor earns prestigious national beef cattle award
When asked about being winning the 2018 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation, Eugene Janzen paused and said he felt “a bit uncomfortable” as well as honoured.
“It’s supposed to be about research and innovation and I guess I’ve never really considered myself to be a researcher — I’m more of a practising veterinarian,” says Dr. Janzen, DVM, a professor of production animal health at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM).
Above, the University of Calgary's Eugene Janzen is awarded the 2018 Canadian Beef Industry Award for Outstanding Research and Innovation. From left: Andrea Brocklebank, BCRC executive director; Ryan Beierbach, BCRC chair; Eugene Janzen; Bob Lowe, Bear Trap Feeders; and Reynold Bergen, BCRC science director.
Over the course of his career, Janzen has mentored and helped countless veterinarians, students and beef producers across the country. “It’s been said that he is on a first-name basis with virtually every mixed-animal or food-animal veterinary practitioner in western Canada,” says Matt Bowman, vice-chair of the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and a producer from Thornloe, Ont. “His cell number is on the barn wall or in the phone directory of literally hundreds of beef producers and their veterinarians.”
Janzen laughed when he heard that: “Well, no wonder my weekends are the way they are.”
The ‘face’ of UCVM
Since news of his award, people across Canada are offering praise for Janzen’s considerable contributions to the beef cattle community.
“Canada’s beef industry wouldn’t be as strong as it is without passionate scientists that pay attention to the industry’s most important challenges and work closely with producers to find practical solutions. Dr. Janzen does just that; he’s a skilled researcher who is passionate about teaching and isn’t afraid to ask tough questions and demand the answers needed to progress,” says Andrea Brocklebank, executive director of BCRC.
“In his fifth decade as a veterinarian, 'Dr. J' still has amazing engagement in veterinary medicine, the beef cattle industry and helping people,” says Dr. John Kastelic, DVM, PhD, head of the Department of Production Animal Health at UCVM. “And for many veterinary practitioners and beef producers, he is truly the 'face' of UCVM as he has frequently crossed the clinic threshold or driven in to their farm, ranch or feedlot.”
An apparently infinite supply of enthusiasm, curiosity and passion
Others reacted to the news of the award by heaping accolades on social media, comments Janzen didn’t see because he’s not on Twitter. “I’m just curious … you mean people would really bother to twitter about me?” Among those tweeting Janzen’s praise was Stephen Hughes, a beef cattle rancher in southwestern Alberta: “Dr J! My mentor. My friend. Wish I was there with you! Congratulations to one of the smartest and best representatives the beef industry has ever known,” he wrote.
“He has made huge impacts in so many ways,” says Kastelic. “From delivery of clinical veterinary services, training large numbers of students and giving numerous presentations, to his research to improve animal health and welfare and to improve and sustain the beef cattle industry, he has an apparently infinite supply of enthusiasm, curiosity and passion.”
Janzen, meanwhile, is both delighted and grateful to receive the award. "I guess, realistically, they’ve chosen to honour me instead of all the powerful researchers that are in the beef cattle industry so that’s kind of an endorsement for clinical veterinary medicine and for the producers,” he says. “I am truly honoured.”