Dr. Murray Jacobson receives Don Matthews Memorial Award


For immediate release: Calgary, Alberta
March 27, 2015


Dr. Murray Jacobson received the Don Matthews Memorial Award at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (Council) held in Calgary, March 26, 2015

The Don Award Memorial Award was instituted in honour of the late Don Matthews, a Past President of CBBC as well as many other accomplishments including the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame.  The award is presented by the Canadian Beef Breeds Council to an individual who exemplifies excellence and passion in the purebred beef cattle industry. Dr. Murray Jacobson is the pioneer, frontrunner, originator of embryo transfer in Canada.  This practice has become an everyday tool for the advancement of every purebred breed in Canada.

Murray graduated from Vet School Washington State in 1969 and then spent a year doing a large animal internship at Guelph.  In 1970 Murray joined the Rockyview Animal Clinic in Calgary along with other well-known vets such as Brian Edge, Wayne Burwash and Ed Moss. In late 1970 or early 1971, David Dryholm, a dentist in the cattle business founded Alberta Livestock Transplant (ALT) and interested Murray in embryo transfer.  With the help of a man from Cambridge University from England, ALT performed their first transfer on October 16, 1971 which resulted in calves in 1971.  In the summer of 1972 Murray went to England to take an ET Course at Cambridge.

In 1974 Murray left ALT and with his vet partners established Calgary Transplant just west of Balzac.  In about 1977, the Rocky View Animal Clinic broke up and Murray moved to Lethbridge, bought a farm and joined the Alberta Disease Research Institute.  In about 1979 Murray joined up with Dr. Darrell Dagraft who had been doing embryo work for Simmental Breeders of Canada at Cardston.  They formed BovaTech at Murray’s Shaughnessy, Alberta farm.  In the early 1980’s Darrell and Murray experimented and perfected the transformation of surgical procedures to non-surgical.  This of course was a huge step in embryo transfers as there was very little risk to the donor.

In 1981 Murray again pioneered the expertise of freezing embryos.  This procedure has become invaluable to the purebred industry sales around the world or implantation at a variety of locations or being able to use recipients when a donor fails.

For over 30 years Murray and his BovaTech partners or staff travelled Western Canada harvesting and transferring embryos of all purebred breeds.  They also started the practice of drawing semen from herd sires for in herd use.  In those busy years, besides Canada, Murray implanted embryos in the US, New Zealand and 3 times in Mongolia.  Murray also trained individuals from Costa Rica, Russia, Britain, Argentina and Australia how to collect and transfer embryos.  Along with his successful embryo transfer career, Murray maintained a very well respected herd of purebred Simmental cattle.  He also served on the Canadian Simmental Association Board and was their President from 2006-2008.

Murray began to slow down in 2011 with the dispersal of his cow herd.  2012 saw him sell BovaTech and also his farm.  Retirement finds Murray and Marilyn travelling the world, spending winters in California golfing and living in Lethbridge.

CBBC’s vision is to provide a unified voice in support of the purebred genetics provided within the Canadian beef cattle industry.  Its mission is to ensure the continuity, growth and prosperity of the Canadian purebred cattle sector as an integral component of the Canadian beef cattle industry. 

Its mandate is to support Canadian purebred cattle producers through service provision aimed at genetic improvement, animal health, extension services and information dissemination; promote Canadian beef cattle genetics both domestically and internationally by identifying market opportunities, facilitating access through timely intelligence and informing the commercial industry of the attributes of the Canadian beef advantage both at home and abroad; represent the purebred cattle sector to government by advocating effective policy, ensuring market access and enhancing competitiveness.

For more information contact:
Michael Latimer, Executive Director, Canadian Beef Breeds Council
T: 403.730.0350, C: 403.901.5090