Faculty News

April 2015

McGill Woodswomen Dominate

Woodswomen 2015

The McGill Woodswomen team, captained by Stephanie Belanger-Naud, completely dominated the field at the 55th annual Macdonald Woodsmen competition held January 24th. The women’s team placed first in ten of the fourteen events. Other team members included Meagan Dustin, Jessica Logan, Kimberly Duheme, Julie MacFarlane and Evelyn Levac.

The men’s team came very close, only seventy points off first place: a strong day by Captain Rony Odermatt and team members Bob Tolhurst, Jessee Rogatini-Gamble, Dominic Mercier-Provencher, Sebastien Latraverse, Matthew Burns and Matthew  Sweenan (Spare).

The two rookie teams placed very respectably, and show great promise for the future.

Said Coach John Watson, “I would like to thank the teams for their hard work, their dedication to McGill, and all those wonderful six a.m. practices in interesting weather.

“I am fortunate to have had the privilege and the honour of teaching and working with over 650 students in the field of lumberjacking on this campus. I am proud of each and every student I have put on the competition field. All of this is of course a team effort and I would like to thank former Athletic Director Bill Ellyett and his staff for their constant support, which enabled me to grow with the program. I would also like to thank the University, for affording me the opportunity of bringing out the extraordinary talents of some of the very best students in Canada.”

Under Watson’s watchful eye, Mac Woodsmen teams have captured more than 100 championships over the last forty years. John Watson retired from the University at the end of the season.



Please join the 2015 Lumberjacks & Jills teams for an opportunity to wish Johnny a happy and healthy retirement,
as he hangs up his axe after 36 years as
coach of the Macdonald Woodsmen Program

Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 2pm sharp
(guest of honour will be arriving at 2:30)

Cunningham’s Pub
75 Rue Sainte-Anne, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC., H9X 1M2 (514) 457-0080

For more details, or to RSVP

email no later than Friday, April 10th to mac.athletics@mcgill.ca
(use WATSON ROAST as your subject line).

All details to be posted on the Facebook group page – “WATSON Retires from Mac Woodsmen”.

FMT student wins 2015 Macdonald Intercollegiate Judging Competition

| Caitlin MacDougall, Liaison Officer, FMT Program


The 65th edition of the annual Macdonald Royal and Judging Competition held on campus at the end of January broke recent participation records, with over 110 competitors in the university, alumni and 4-H categories.

Numerous Mac students participate in the coordination and competition each year. One of these students who stands out is long-time competitor and second-year Farm Management and Technology student Matthew Burns.

Matthew scored 832 points out of a possible 1,000 in the judging competition, placing him first over 113 others and earning him the Dean’s Cup. Other participants hailed from Dalhousie University, Université Laval, University of Guelph, University of Alberta, CEGEP de Victoriaville and CEGEP de Sherbrooke.

Participants judged 14 classes in two divisions, Livestock and Crops and others. Classes included challenges such as evaluating calf starter feed, decorated cupcakes, ducks, and manure identification.

Students must also provide oral reasons for six designated classes, on which they are also judged. When asked what Matthew likes best about judging, he states: “There’s always a new challenge. Even if you’ve judged the same type of class before, there will always be differences between the two and everyone has their own opinion (not everyone has to agree, you just have to back up your placings with solid reasons). You get to learn from your experience, you can always find something in your memory from past experiences that will help you with the class at hand.”

Deans Cup Mac 2015

Matthew is second from right, receiving the Dean’s Cup from Judging Club president, Ashlie Hardy (FMT’15). (Photo: Caroline Begg)

This was the fifth year that Matthew has participated in the competition. He first came in 2011 as part of his local Sawyerville 4-H team. Since 2014 he has judged as a Mac student in the intercollegiate category. He gained his judging experience through 4-H, where he has held all of the club executive positions, and is now the Quebec 4-H Association Vice-President.

On campus, Matthew is in his second year on the Woodsmen team: “This year I did Pole Climb as my singles event and Quarter Split as my doubles, I also won the snowshoe race at the Mac competition [in January].”

In the fall, Matthew will be entering his final year of the FMT program, after which his “long-term goal is to take over the family farm. I’ll be the sixth generation on the farm.” But for right now, “I really enjoy the dairy classes; we get a lot of practical information that will help us manage our herds well when we graduate.”


Mac Farm welcomes New Dairy Manager

Chantal with “MCF Reginald Valentina”

Chantal with “MCF Reginald Valentina”

In early February, Chantal Charette began her tenure as the new Dairy Unit Manager at the Macdonald Campus Farm.  Chantal is no stranger to Mac, having graduated from the Farm Management and Technology program in 1991, returning many times as a classifier with Holstein Canada.  Chantal’s ties with Macdonald College go back even further to the days of her youth as a member of the 4-H club coached by the renowned and long-time herdsman of the Mac Dairy, Gordon Beaulieu.

Chantal brings with her a passion for agriculture that was nurtured on the family dairy farm near Rigaud, QC, and cultivated with 18 years’ experience as a classifier and program coordinator with Holstein Canada, along with six years in the artificial insemination business, the last four as manager of a team of 30 sales reps and service technicians.  Her outstanding reputation in the dairy industry both in Canada and internationally, and her great interpersonal skills, will be a huge asset to students, faculty and staff.

According to the Farm’s General Manager, Paul Meldrum, “Chantal has the combination of skills and knowledge we were looking for.  Her knowledge and ability with cows is second to none, and she is a people person, which fosters a good team spirit in the barn, and is engaging for our students, researchers and the public and our alumni. We are indeed fortunate to have such a high calibre grad come back to Mac and look forward to seeing the results of Chantal’s influence and talents in the months to come.”

“I feel  excited and extremely privileged to be back at MAC!” says Chantal. ” I am  thrilled to work with a great team and be able to practice my lifetime passion….cows!  Our team will continue to ensure the high standard of quality milk and herd genetics  excellency as well.  It is very important to work closely with our consumers and educate the next generation. Working closely and helping students to learn better technics and technology  are fundamental for a better tomorrow in agriculture in Canada.  Graduating in 1991 from Mac gave me a true vision of my role in agriculture.  I remembered as a kid buying cows with my father from Macdonald herd… It’s here the passion started. … and now it’s time to give back to the Mac community.”



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