On Thursday our ranch, Pine Ranch, hosted the Canadian Farm Writers Tour. There were multiple stops, but our ranch was responsible for 2 of the stops. The first stop was on our crown range land. I met the bus at the furthest point of our range, range is where our cows spend the summer. Our range is on both sides of the Coquhalla freeway between Kingsvale and Coquhalla Lakes (if you’ve ever driven that highway from Vancouver to Merritt). I toured the farm writers around that part of the range because lately our ranch has had a lot of pressure from recreation. ATV’s and campers are allowed on be on our range because we lease that crown land from the government, so we don’t own it, but we have to pay an annual fee to graze it and make a Range Use Plan that specifies when we will have cattle out of certain pastures, so it doesn’t get over grazed and it limits us to a certain amount of animals we can run on that land. Crown land is suppose to be multi use land. That means forestry can log it, ranchers can graze cows on it, and recreation can use it. However, the sport of ATVing has increased so drastically in the past couple of years that our range is flooded with people on off road vehicles. Now this may not sound like a problem, but to us it is and has a great effect on our operation. I don’t think people realize what they are doing, but when they are tearing around on their ATV’s they are destroying grasslands, spreading weeds and scaring our cattle all without having to pay a cent to use that land. It was an interesting spot to introduce people to some of the issues we face as BC Ranchers, because we are so reliant on our range, without it many ranchers couldn’t raise cattle in BC because they don’t have the capacity on their deeded land to sustain their whole herd throughout the whole summer. After our range stop, the tour bus went to our home ranch where we toured around there, talked about the river running through our place and some obstacles that it presents and also what we have done to prevent erosion and keep cattle away from the river. Next, we heard about the Environmental Farm Plan from the man who completed our ranch’s Environmental Farm Plan. Secondly, another local ranching family joined us and talked about their ranch’s diversification, cider making and we got to sample some delicious Left Field Cider @LeftFieldCider. Then, over a delicious lunch provided by a local bakery, Brambles Bakery, we listened to the tales of a cowboy poet. Lastly, I spoke a bit about our ranch’s diversification, my natural beef business. All in all it was a great day and we really lucked out and had beautiful weather. I want to thank BC Cattlemen’s Association @BCcattle for asking my family and our ranch to be involved in the tour, all the Canadian Farm Writers for coming and to Annemarie Pederson @CDNBeef_ag from Canada Beef Inc for joining us as well!
Check out the Canadian Farm Writers Federation website!