A teacher by training, Mabel Hamilton has made lasting contributions to the Canadian beef industry with more than 40 years as an outstanding leader, educator, advocate, volunteer and farmer.
Mabel left the education field to formally enter the beef industry while balancing the needs of a young family and the Angus cattle business she runs with her husband Gavin. It was a move that would quickly see her become an influential and boundless leader in the Canadian beef industry.
While at the Alberta Cattle Commission (now Alberta Beef Producers), Mabel leveraged her teacher training to design and write a classroom agriculture program for grade 4 students as a way to increase urban youths’ understanding of the food system. She went on to serve as president of the Canadian Angus Association during a time of unprecedented growth – moving the rank of the breed from fourth largest to the largest beef breed in Canada.
As chair of the Beef Information Centre, Mabel led the charge to increase the industry’s connection with consumers using education and advertising, decades before the general agriculture industry realized the disconnect between producers and consumers. She knew the value of a good story and used this approach to get consumers interested in agriculture and food production to advance consumer education and beef promotion.
Mabel was an early champion for animal identification and traceability in Canada despite the strong opposition faced at the time. She persevered with science-based evidence to ultimately see the creation of a national livestock traceability system – a critical resource that helped re-open export markets after BSE hit the Canadian beef industry in 2003. She went on to serve as chair of the newly formed Canadian Cattle Identification Agency.
With a sharp focus on identifying challenges, crafting effective strategies, and then following through with the tools, tactics and solutions to get the job done, Mabel blazed many new roads for women in agriculture without ever seeking that style of recognition. She was driven to simply do her best, securing her place as a respected leader in Canadian agriculture. Mabel is on the Olds College Board of Governors, and is past chair of the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation.
Mabel’s awards are as extensive as her life’s work, including Canadian Cattlemen of the Year with her husband Gavin, Woman of the Year in Agriculture from Alberta Beef Magazine, Alberta Agricultural Hall of Fame inductee, Honorary President of the Canadian Angus Association and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
A tireless promoter, action-oriented leader and powerful influencer, Mabel Hamilton’s energy and enthusiasm have driven progressive lifelong changes for the Canadian beef industry.