Grey Bruce Farmers' Week Prize
In 2009 an annual $1000.00 Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week Prize was established in conjunction with the University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), to recognize new veterinarians entering food animal practices in Grey and Bruce Counties.
This award recognizes the individual’s past accomplishments, but also encourages their future contributions, and commitment to our rural communities. In the case of there being more than one applicant, the award will be given to the graduate completing the course Health Management in either the Mixed or Food Animal streams, with the highest standing in the Ruminant Health Management rotation.
Eligible students can apply by letter providing proof of employment to the office of the ‘Associate Dean, Students for OVC’, by May 1st of each year.
Past recipients are listed below.
Please note, in 2022 there were no graduates of OVC eligible to receive the award, however it continued in 2023.
Dr. Hannah Jansen - Class of 2023
Hello, my name is Hannah Jansen, I am a 2023 graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College. I am honoured to be the recipient of the 2023 Grey Bruce Farmer’s Week Award. I grew up on a swine and cash crop farm outside of Seaforth but we had other animals as well, including horses, goats, backyard chickens, veal, a couple beef cattle, and most recently sheep. I loved growing up on a farm and getting to spend time caring for these animals.
I did my undergraduate degree in Nursing Science and graduated to work as a Registered Nurse for 3 years where I worked in Tennessee first, then in Ontario. I loved the medicine and the people but missed working in the agriculture community and with animals. I decided to bridge the gap between my interests and work at getting into veterinary school. After taking some required courses, working at the University of Guelph as a research technician and taking some odd jobs as a farm hand I was elated to be accepted to the Veterinary program. As an aspiring vet I never considered working with anything other than livestock in the agriculture community. I believed I would work full time as a swine vet. I was swayed to broaden my scope of large animal medicine by Blyth Vets where I did some shadowing throughout second and third year thanks to some flexibility in my school schedule due to the pandemic. I enjoyed some of the herd and individual medicine that they provided to the other large animal species including cattle, small ruminants, and even some horses.
I am currently working four days a week at South West Veterinary Services pursing my dreams of working as a swine veterinarian working across Ontario including farms in both Grey and Bruce counties. I am also working one days a week and sharing the on call schedule at Blyth Veterinary Services working predominantly in Huron and Bruce counties as a large animal veterinarian.
At both practices I have really enjoyed meeting the farmers and getting to know the various operations. As I start my career it is my hope to be part of these farm teams helping both the farmers to be economically successful but equally strive to provide the animals with the most humane care. I have a special interest in applying a one health approach to the veterinary care I provide due to my history working in the human health care field and on our farm. This approach works to a holistic approach to medicine by incorporating a human, animal, and environmental health perspective.
Thank you to the farmers who have already welcomed me onto their farms. I look forward to continuing to meet more of you. Thank you also to the Grey Bruce Farmer’s Week Award for the generous support to large animal veterinarians.
Dr. Heather Reinhardt - Class of 2021
Heather grew up in South Bruce County (Teeswater), on a small dairy farm. Although the farm was mostly dairy cattle, when she was a teenager, she purchased a few sheep and started her own small flock.
During her undergraduate degree Heather was fortunate to gain experience working in the swine industry. She managed a sow barn, and worked for Southwest Vets, a swine specialty veterinary clinic. Prior to attending veterinary school, Heather completed a Master of Science Degree in livestock nutrition. Heather views veterinary medicine as an opportunity for a diverse career path with many different areas of interest and opportunity.
Dr. Reinhardt is currently employed at the Walkerton Hanover Veterinary Clinic, and the Walkerton Equine Clinic. She will be performing a diverse set of roles and services within the clinics. It may be too early to ask Heather what her specialty will be, but she is hopeful that her training in livestock nutrition will be a unique asset to the clinics, in addition to her passion for production management.
Dr. Jacques Van Zyl - Class of 2020
Jacques was born in South Africa. When he was quite young, his family moved to the small farming town of Canora Saskatchewan, where they backgrounded cattle and had a small chicken flock. He spent his childhood fishing and helping on the farm. The Van Zyl family moved to Ontario when Jacques was in grade four. He was always very intrigued with the idea of being a veterinarian and working in a rural setting. His initial interest was wildlife, and he worked for a year in conservation. He also spent time working on a family member’s farm in South Africa, where they farmed rare game. After spending time with a veterinarian in South Africa, and darting animals from helicopters, he decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. Jacques says that being a large animal veterinarian suits his personality. Jacques finds it rewarding to help producers, as veterinarians are directly influencing the farmers’ livelihoods. He is currently working for both a large animal clinic and a small animal clinic. The large animal clinic that has hired him is Metzger Veterinary Services. He is based out of their Chesley clinic. Jacques is really look forward to interacting with the producers that he knows from his childhood. Being able to help them now as a veterinarian will be very rewarding. He also looks forward to meeting new farmers and starting his career in the area.
Dr. Elri Oosthuizen - Class of 2019
Elri grew up in the small town of Smiths Falls, ON Canada. Despite the fact that she did not grow up on a farm, she is passionate about livestock, and agriculture. One of Elri’s earliest experiences with large animals began with horses. As a young eight-year-old girl, she went to her first horseback riding summer camp. Horseback riding lessons turned into weekend chores at the horse farm, then summer jobs, and equine care jobs on the road for show horses on the competitive circuit. During her undergraduate degree in Animal Biology, she began to realize what a love she had for agriculture and farm animals. U of G provided a positive exposure to agriculture through the classes, atmosphere and surroundings. Once she reached vet school, she truly realized that her passion was rooted in farm/food animal medicine. Elri gained experience working summer jobs at the Arkell Swine Health Research Facility and at the University of Guelph with the “teaching dairy cows”. Although she still enjoys horses in her personal life, and will be working with them in her veterinary career; they will be accompanied by her focus on cattle/food animal medicine. Elri is very much looking forward to becoming part of the agricultural community in Bruce County. As a veterinarian, she wants to be part of the advancement of livestock practices, animal welfare, health and production. She wishes to work alongside producers to investigate potential areas of improvement, so that their operation may have optimal production and fulfill their farm goals, while maintaining their animals in top health condition. But ultimately, she wishes to be seen by the producers in the community as a warm, approachable, accepting individual, that has both their interests and the animal’s best interests at heart. She is currently working at Paisley Veterinary Services.
Dr. Julia Nguyen - Class of 2018
Julia grew up in the suburbs of Oshawa. From a young age she was inspired to be a vet, as she liked the idea of working with animals, while helping owners through the knowledge of animal medicine and behaviour. That early desire to become a veterinarian, led Julia to do a high school co-op placement at a small animal clinic. After her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph, Dr. Nguyen began riding along with large animal practitioners and volunteering at a therapeutic riding centre and farm. She became even more interested in food-producing animals after working on a pasture-based farm for four months in New Hampshire, U.S. That farm raised broilers, layers, beef cattle, heritage breed pigs, turkeys, and lambs. Dr. Nguyen chose food/large animal practice as a result of her experiences and the mentors that have influenced her throughout her life. Julia has a keen interest in bovine veterinary medicine and understanding how veterinarians can play a key role in improving the lives of the animals, farmers, and the broader community. She has been employed by Miller Veterinary Service in Chatsworth.
Dr. Kelsey Milmine - Class of 2017
Kelsey grew up in the the suburbia of Burlington, Ontario. Before getting into veterinary school most of her experiences were exclusively with small animals. She wanted to get some experience with large animals, so she approached a local dairy farmer about working on his farm. Kelsey commented that “Roland, at Swiss Line Farm, and the rest of his family, were great for hiring a city girl to come milk their cattle”. During her time there, she grew to love the dairy industry. She also started volunteering with large animal veterinarians and got to learn more about large animal veterinary medicine. Working and volunteering at different veterinary practices showed her how exciting and varied a veterinarian's job can be. What drew her to large animal medicine was the chance to work more with cattle and interact with farmers. At the time of reciept of this award, Dr. Milmine was employed at Paisley Veterinary Service in Bruce County.
Dr. Stephanie Bilato - Class of 2016
Stephanie was born and raised in Ancaster, Ontario. Her first exposure to large animals was through horseback-riding camps when she was young. Throughout high school and university she worked at mixed animal veterinary clinics in the area. She loved the variety of species seen on a day to day basis. During this time, she also milked cows on a couple of family farms. This is where she saw first-hand the care and hard work that went into putting milk onto our tables. Stephanie felt that there is a certain pride and feeling of responsibility that she got when working with food producing animals. At the time of the receipt of this award, Dr. Bilato was working at the Mildmay Veterinary Clinic as a mixed animal veterinarian.
Dr. Victoria Styczynski - Class of 2015
On June 12, 2015, at the Convocation Awards ceremony at OVC, Dr. Victoria Styczynski was the recipient of the GBFW award. Victoria was born and raised in Burlington, Ontario. Victoria was introduced to large animals through horse riding lessons at a young age (seven). Victoria spent a lot of time with her uncle growing up, both at his farm in Grimsby, and going to watch the livestock auctions at OLEX. Her decision to become a large animal vet was made after shadowing a large animal vet in the Niagara region. She loved the animals and the atmosphere at each new farm they visited. She also learnt to appreciate the working partnership between producers and farm animals. Since then, she has expanded her experiences with farming and agriculture during her time at OVC, and by riding along with other large animal practitioners. Victoria was introduced to the Grey Bruce area through her boyfriend Jamie, who is from Port Elgin, ON. Victoria spent many of her 4th year rotations with various practices in the Grey Bruce area. At the time of receipt of this award, and in 2018, Victoria is employed at a mixed animal practice at Paisley Veterinary Services.
Dr. Kim Painter - Class of 2014
Kim was born and raised in the Kitchener area. She had been interested in veterinary medicine from a young age, but she became more focused on agriculture and production medicine during her undergrad at the University of Guelph (BSc in Animal Biology). During a busy spring 2014: she graduated from OVC; started working for Mildmay Veterinary Professional Corporation; got married in June to Dwayne Koeslag, whose family operates a dairy farmer near Clifford; and completed the six week Summer Dairy Institute (SDI) program at Cornell University. She believed that it was important to pursue programs such as SDI, to ensure that she is at the forefront of the industry. In 2014, she was treating small and large animals; however, food animal medicine is her passion. Kim feels very fortunate to have the perspective of a producer, farming with her husband and his family. Kim has enjoyed getting to know the clients in the Grey-Bruce area. She feels that she is particularly lucky to work in an area where her husbands’ family is established, and recognized. Kim continues to work at the Mildmay Veterinary Clinic.
Dr. Rebecca Egan - Class of 2013
Rebecca was born and raised in Guelph, Ontario. She completed an HBSc Animal Biology Degree in the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph, during which time she developed an interest in agriculture and animal production industries. While studying at OVC she had the opportunity to work in both research and government positions, focused on bovine medicine and food safety. At the time of reciept of this award, Rebecca was employed at Mildmay Veterinary Clinic as an associate mixed animal practitioner. Rebecca has a keen interest in working with producers in the development, implementation and monitoring of health management programs, while striving to optimize animal health and overall production.
Dr. Robyn Thompson - Class of 2012
Robyn grew up in Kincardine Township on a mixed farm, and learned to appreciate the strong rural communities of Grey and Bruce counties. At the time of the receipt of this award, Dr. Robyn Thompson was and remains employed at the Walkerton-Hanover Veterinary Clinic, as a mixed animal practitioner. At the time of the presentation, she commented that she is excited to have the opportunity to support the livestock producers and communities of Grey-Bruce in the future, as well as be close to her friends and family in the Kincardine/Ripley area.
Dr. Talia Gurwitz - Class of 2011
Talia grew up in Toronto, but enjoyed her summers at a farm with horses, a few cows and sheep. As a young girl she knew that she wanted to live in a rural setting. Since then she has lived in: a small rural town in Vermont, USA; worked at a dairy farm in Bruce County; and volunteered on various farms across Canada, including a cow/calf operation and a greenhouse. At the time of receipt of this award, Talia was residing in Arthur and working at the Arthur Veterinary Clinic and the North Wellington Animal Hospital in Mount Forest. Currently Talia is employed with Markdale Veterinary Services. Talia’s areas of focus includes: mastitis on dairy farms; pasture management on dairy, beef and sheep farms; and organic animal husbandry.
Dr. Matt Schieck - Class of 2010
Matt grew up in the Drayton area on a Simmental cow calf operation. In previous summers, Matt had worked at the Listowel Vet Clinic and the Elora Dairy Research Centre. At the time of the receipt of this award, and presently, Matt is employed by Markdale Veterinary Services. Matt says he, "appreciates living and working in this rural area where one can quickly feel that you are a part of the community".
Dr. Stephanie Vamplew - Class of 2009
Stephanie grew up in Grey County, in the Owen Sound area. She had worked in the local beef industry for 6 summers. At the time of the receipt of this award, she was employed by Moore Veterinary Services, Chatsworth, and Chesley Veterinary Clinic. Presently Stephanie is employed at the Hertiage Animal Hospital in Owen Sound. Stephanie believes that “livestock production is a vital part of our communities and economy, and hopes to have a role in preserving and expanding the opportunities here.”