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Highlighting the Research Team at the Technology Access Center for Livestock Production (TACLP)

January 09, 2023

Addressing industry priorities, the Technology Access Center for Livestock Production (TACLP) gives livestock producers, technology developers, and small and medium-sized enterprises access to facilities, emerging smart agriculture technologies, testing services, research expertise and training opportunities. Read more about the talented team of researchers at the TACLP working to move the livestock industry forward.

Sean Thompson

sean.jpegSean Thompson is the Director of the TACLP at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology. In his role, Sean provides oversight to operations conducted by the TACLP with emphasis on technical advisory, project management and maintaining client relationships.

Sean’s expertise has been beneficial in supporting growth for the applied livestock research program at the College. He has an extensive background in the management, nutrition and genetics of beef cattle. He also has over six years of experience managing research projects at post-secondary institutions and holds an M.Sc. in beef cattle nutrition from the University of Manitoba. Prior to joining the College, Sean served as Feed Industry Liaison at the University of Saskatchewan managing feed processing and livestock feeding research projects.

Sean and the rest of the TACLP team play an important role conducting applied research projects for both the beef cattle and sheep industries in Alberta. By focusing on industry-relevant topics related to production, animal health and welfare, and environmental sustainability, the TACLP ensures that results and findings can be immediately disseminated to producers. Further, the in-house expertise that has been developed around novel and innovative livestock solutions supports evaluations and third-party validations of smart agriculture technologies for entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Away from campus, Sean and his wife operate a small purebred Shorthorn operation north of Cochrane. Along with his young son and two energetic dogs, this keeps Sean (very) busy when he’s not in the office.

Désirée Gellatly

desiree.jpegDr. Désirée Gellatly is the Research Scientist for the TACLP at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology. Dr. Gellatly directs and supports the scientific activities of all livestock research projects conducted by the TACLP. She is responsible for the financial and authoritative security of livestock research projects as well as preparation of research proposals/contracts and submissions, project budgeting, development and implementation of research trials, supervision of research staff, and client communications. 

Dr. Gellatly completed her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Animal Science at São Paulo State University in her home country of Brazil with a focus on the assessment of cattle temperament and its relationship with feeding behaviour, feed efficiency, growth and reproductive performance. She also carries two post-doctorates from Agriculture and Agri-Food of Canada managing projects related to beef cattle and sheep behaviour and welfare.

Dr. Gellatly is also an instructor for the online course "Basic Handling, Facilities and Equipment" included in the Beef Production Certificate at Olds College. In her off time, Desiree enjoys spending every moment with her two beautiful daughters and keeping her husband well-fed with authentic Brazilian BBQ. She passionately produces handcrafts, sings, plays guitar, and most importantly surrounds herself with the laughter and love of her friends and family.

Lorna Baird

lornabaird.jpgLorna Baird has been with Olds College of Agriculture & Technology since October 2021 and is kept busy with a dual role at the College. She is the Manager of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI) where she helps people with new business ideas and small to medium-sized businesses access networks of people, organizations and programs that can help them develop their entrepreneurship journey. Lorna also supports Business Development for the TACLP at the College where she continues to help those same individuals and businesses develop, validate and demonstrate new technologies or innovative techniques. 

Lorna finds it rewarding to support the development of new and innovative ideas, and her aim is to ensure current and prospective clients and partners are aware of the exciting ongoing work and potential opportunities with the College. In continuation of her passion for entrepreneurship, she also co-chairs the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN) which is one of eight Regional Innovation Networks, or RINs, across the province that are supported by Alberta Innovates. The networks work collaboratively and share ideas and noteworthy practices. Within the College community, Lorna is also a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee and the OCCI in the Community Committee.

Lorna holds a B.Sc. in Animal Science from the University of Manitoba and an M.Sc. in Livestock Behaviour and Welfare from the University of British Columbia. After her studies, she spent four years running a cattle lameness research program at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland. When she returned to Canada, Lorna settled in Calgary and worked with the livestock and poultry industries in roles at Alberta Farm Animal Care, and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. 

Outside of work, Lorna is a proud mom of her 8-year old daughter Molly (named after Lorna’s grandma in Scotland) and they recently welcomed puppy Lewis into the family — a sweet and energetic German short-haired pointer. Lorna wears a lot of hats at work and home, but loves to stay busy as you can easily tell from her bio!

Laio Silva Sobrinho

Laio Silva SobrinhoLaio Silva Sobrinho is the Research Manager at the TACLP. He manages and leads projects focusing on grazing management and pasture productivity — including their impacts on soil health and overall environmental sustainability. Laio specifically leads the fieldwork, data analysis and interpretation, reporting, grant writing, and knowledge transfer activities to producers through workshops, webinars, industry conferences and producer meetings.

Laio is also largely focused on the validation of technologies that can potentially help producers remotely manage cattle and monitor animal health and soil conditions. The technologies he studies include virtual fence collars, soil sensors, electric fence sensors, water level sensors, and animal ear tags.

Laio has always been interested and passionate about soil; he grew up in Brazil where his family raises beef cattle. He completed his undergraduate in Brazil in Forestry, which led him to work in soil remediation — using plants to naturally clean water and soil. Laio first came to Canada as an international exchange student through university for 16 months when he met his partner Camila, also from Brazil. They currently both live in Edmonton; Camila is a medical school graduate currently completing her Masters in Epidemiology and plans to become a Family Physician.

After completing his degree in Brazil, Laio returned to Canada to complete his Masters in Soil Remediation and Carbon Sequestration. He says it felt like he was coming home when he returned to Edmonton since he enjoyed being in Canada during his previous internship. 

Laio first came to the College and the TACLP in August 2020 as an intern through the Adaptation Resilience Training (ART) Program at the University of Alberta before becoming a Research Associate at the TACLP, and then joining the management team. While working full time with the TACLP, Laio also found time to finish and defend his Masters degree at the University of Alberta. In his thesis, Laio studied the effect of adaptive rotational grazing systems on the sequestration of carbon in the Canadian grasslands. During his Masters, Laio was awarded the industry-funded AltaLink Masters Scholarship in Rangeland Disturbance Ecology for his contribution to research on rangeland science.

Outside of work, research and studies, Laio and Camila are focused on leading a healthy and active lifestyle. They both enjoy biking, going for walks and hikes, and making trips to the mountains, Banff and Canmore. They have a big group of friends in Edmonton, and are often playing dodgeball or volleyball and organizing backyard BBQs.

Brianna Gratton

Brianna GrattonBrianna Gratton is the Techgronomist with the TACLP, and has a passion for enhancing the productivity and sustainability of livestock production systems through the integration of technology. After completing her education at Olds College, Brianna acquired her professional certification as a Certified Crop Advisor demonstrating her knowledge and expertise in managing crop production systems.

Brianna's focus on technology stems from her desire to find innovative solutions to the challenges facing the livestock industry. At the TACLP, Brianna works to identify and apply cutting-edge technologies to improve efficiency and sustainability in the industry. Her work involves developing and testing new technologies, tools, and practices that can improve efficiency, reduce waste, and promote regenerative practices.

In addition to her work as a Techgronomist, Brianna also runs a cow-calf operation near Sundre. Her hands-on experience in the livestock industry gives her perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing producers today. In her spare time, she is kept busy with her two young kids.

Alison Neale

Alison NealeAlison Neale is a Research Associate at the TACLP. Alison was raised locally in a neighbouring community, but her family didn’t grow up on a farm and she always wanted to work with animals.

Alison received a B.Sc. in Animal Biosciences from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019. She worked as a Research Technician at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine before joining Feedlot Health Services as a Project Manager. In both of these roles, Alison conducted and organized livestock research activities, monitored data, and worked at the ground level in feedlots and cow/calf ranches.

Alison enjoys working with the TACLP and the great group of colleagues she has here at the College. She has been specifically working with GrowSafe trials and virtual fencing research, and is excited about getting more immersed in agriculture and livestock research. She likes being part of applied research activities with the TACLP in order to explore and test products that could be practical and functional for the producer themselves.

She has a deep love for animals, specifically for learning all about the production side of livestock and how food gets from the farm to the table. She is passionate about helping young people better understand the agriculture industry and become knowledgeable about how food is grown in a healthy and sustainable way.

During her time away from work, Alison spends a lot of time with her dog — a three-year-old Newfoundland Poodle named Berni. Alison and Berni recently took a solo camping trip down to Utah to explore and enjoy nature. Alison also enjoys kayaking, fishing, hiking, and mini road trips and is looking forward to her upcoming adventure driving around B.C. to explore the mountains.

Yaogeng Lei

Yaogeng LeiDr. Yaogeng Lei (Lei) joined the team in September 2022 as a Research Associate with the TACLP. Since starting at the TACLP, Lei has been diving into knowledge and common practices in the beef industry. He is currently working on projects and literature reviews involving biodiversity, Alberta feedlot manure and practices, and animal welfare. He enjoys working with the team at the TACLP and thoroughly enjoys diving deep into the research. Lei highlights how working in the research world allows him the opportunity to learn new things every day to continually build his knowledge base.

Born and raised in China, Lei obtained his B.Sc. in animal science, and M.Sc. in animal nutrition and feed science from Northwest A&F University in Shaanxi, China. After graduation, Yaogeng came to Canada to pursue his Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Saskatchewan. His research project evaluated the structural and nutritional characteristics of genetic modified alfalfa with both traditional and spectral methods. Through his graduate studies, Lei worked with cashmere goats, lambs, sheep and dairy cows in diet formulation, sample collection and evaluation. Prior to joining the College, Lei worked as a data analyst analyzing feed efficiency data of cattle and sheep for feedlots and research institutes. Lei has knowledge and skills in ruminant nutrition, experimental design and statistical analysis.

Outside of work life, “Loona” takes the top spot in priorities for Lei and his partner, Dariel. Loona is their 10-month old Border Collie who gets spoiled with numerous walks and endless cuddles all day and every day — and they keep a close eye on her with a doggie cam to make sure she is safe and sound and, most importantly, happy.

Lei also enjoys going to the mountains for relaxing hikes where he can enjoy nature, animals and plants — and coming home to their mini greenhouse of indoor houseplants.

Lyndsey Smith

Lyndsey SmithLyndsey Smith is a Research Technician with the TACLP. She recently graduated from Olds College of Agriculture & Technology with her Diploma in Agriculture Management majoring in Agribusiness. As a College student, Lyndsey completed her eight-month Directed Field Study (DFS) for her program with the TACLP and was hired full-time afterwards. She was happy to gain both academic and hands-on learning from her education and internship combined — and get to continue learning from mentors at the College.

Lyndsey has been getting a variety of experience with projects focusing on cattle, regenerative agriculture and grazing management since starting with the TACLP in May 2022. She likes the variety of applied research projects and working with different breed associations — plus getting to spend time outdoors. Lyndsey is also interested in talking with producers and helping them find solutions to struggles they have in their operations, as well as learning about new ag technologies that are realistic for producers to utilize.

Lyndsey loves all things agriculture from crops to livestock. She grew up in Camrose, Alta. where she raises purebred and commercial Herefords. Growing up, Lyndsey’s family raised registered quarter horses, but she became interested in cattle and grew her own herd through the 4-H program. She bought her first heifer at age 13, and now owns ten cows. She shows cattle extensively in the summer and enjoys taking part in the Canadian Junior Hereford Bonanza on an annual basis. 

In her free time, Lyndsey enjoys reading, hiking, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. She also started the hobby of listening to agriculture podcasts to expand her learning platform and gain insights from a variety of industry leaders.

Emilie Edgar

Emilie EdgarEmilie is a Research Technician for the TACLP at the College, and is responsible for assisting in research projects and laboratory experiments, collecting and managing data, and livestock husbandry. Emilie is passionate about the livestock sector and is interested in supporting new innovative ideas to provide a more sustainable future in the agriculture industry.

Emilie holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agribusiness along with a diploma in Agriculture Management majoring in Production — both completed at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology. As a College student, Emilie completed her eight-month Directed Field Study (DFS) for her degree program with the TACLP and was hired full-time afterwards. She enjoys the continuous learning she receives by working with the TACLP and building her career in the agriculture industry. Emilie says there is something new to learn every day, and they continuously get to solve new challenges which makes work both interesting and fun.

Emilie’s main focus at the College is on the floating island technology project. Since starting as a DFS student, Emilie and a fellow researcher technician regularly monitor the ponds and floating islands involved in the applied research project, perform water and plant sampling, and check weather parameters, precipitation and contaminant concentrations at the sites. The research team recently launched 55 floating islands on the water, and will be collecting and analyzing data over the next two years to see if they can produce high-quality recycled water for producers.

Outside of the office, Emilie spends the majority of her time with her family. Her immediate family of 16 people — including 9 siblings and 3 nieces — enjoys going on warm holidays during the winter; they recently returned from a nice, relaxing break in Mexico. She also likes to regularly hangout with her friends and make road trips to the mountains.

Brittany Scott

brittanyscott.jpgBrittany Scott is a Research Technician for the TACLP at Olds College and works primarily with the College’s cattle herd. She has an important role in records management for the cattle on campus and across the Smart Farm. Brittany’s primary responsibilities are performing data collection and entry for various trials occurring within TACLP; monitoring herd health for College cattle, client fee-for service and RFI feed efficiency trials; and analyzing grazing management in relation to plant height and density of forage. She also enjoys the activity surrounding calving and lambing seasons at the College, and is often helping the farm team in the barns on campus. 

Brittany’s favorite part about her job with the livestock team is working with animals, but she also loves spending most of her days outdoors, learning new farm and animal practices, and working side-by-side with the farm team. Brittany grew up on a cow/calf operation outside of Didsbury, and spent eight years as a member of the 4H Beef Club, so working with animals was a natural career choice. 

Brittany went to Lakeland College for two years and took Animal Science Technology with a Beef Major. She then came to Olds College and took the Bachelor of Applied Science Degree - Agribusiness. For her eight-month directed field study, Brittany was the very first student to do their internship on the Olds College Smart Farm — which turned into her permanent job.

When Brittany isn’t at work with the livestock, she is likely on either her parent’s farm or her father-in-law’s farm helping with their cattle operations. In the fall of 2021, Brittany also purchased a few purebred shorthorns to start her own cow herd.

Brittany is a very happy mom to her son, Colt, who she spends every free moment with. Colt is a very busy little boy and absolutely loves tractors, farm equipment and farm animals. His favourite activity is coming along to do farm chores and he lights up when he sees the cows and kitty who lives on his grandparent’s farm (‘kitty’ being his first word). Brittany also loves to go camping as a family during the summer months and spends as much time outdoors as possible.

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