Mark Verleun

PEI farmer and Back to Ag recipient
Since receiving a new cattle handling system, Mark Verleun has been able to move his cattle safely in spite of a severe leg and knee injury.

In March 2015, PEI farmer Mark Verleun was involved in a head-on collision. As a result, Mark experienced severe trauma to his leg and knee, impacting his ability to safely and successfully handle the cattle on his farm. That’s where Back to Ag came in.

Verleun’s old handling system required loading and unloading cattle to bring them to the fixed-in-place head gate. “We’ve had many close calls with kicks and steers backing out of the alleyway instead of moving forward. With my injured knee, another kick or further injury would be devastating. The new portable tub and chute allows us to bring the handling system to the cattle, eliminating the need to load and unload the cattle,” says Verleun.

Once in the chute, the cattle can’t turn around, and their ability to back up is greatly reduced. “The system encourages only forward motion. The handling system reduces the stress on the cattle and me,” he says.

The Back to Ag funding for our portable tub and chute has been a great boost to Verleun’s ability to continue and keep current in the beef industry. “Not being able to handle the cattle in a safe manner and perform the necessary production protocols would leave me at a disadvantage to other cattle farmers,” he says, adding that he may have had to exit the industry without the new handling system.

Verleun says farming is a very physical occupation and the summer of 2015 was a very trying period. “Being unable to walk and do my chores was very disheartening and there were moments of doubt if I could continue to farm. We pressed on through physio and I’m glad to say I’ve come a long ways. The Back to Ag funding for the tub and chute has greatly improved my ability to work on the farm in a safe and productive manner,” he says.

I am very, very grateful to Back to Ag and their funding partners for selecting me for their program. The program has been a great boost to my ability to continue farming and raising cattle in a safe manner.
– Mark Verleun, PEI farmer