As he eases into the saddle as president of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association, Clint Thompson is ready for the challenges facing the region.
“I’m looking forward to working with the other directors and hoping we can continue to build better relationships with the government ministries that are bringing new challenges to cattlemen,” Thompson said.
One of those challenges is dealing with the maintenance of high-risk dams, he said, noting sometimes ranchers have felt ignored by the provincial government.
“Even before Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) kicked in, the government abandoned cattlemen and it was hard to find government workers,” he said. “As they’ve slowly come back it’s been more with enforcement hats rather than the kind of help they used to be.”
A top issue presently facing the cattlemen is Worksafe BC requirements, Thompson said.
“Every ranch is different and one of the goofy things is that anyone who has employees is subject to Worksafe rules and recommendations,” he said. “There is the odd ranch that is a mom and pop outfit and may not even draw a wage in some cases but it has to comply with all those rules.”
Another concern is treaties, Thompson said.
“We’ve got the rights and title case west of the Fraser River and treaties east of the Fraser River.”
Predator control continues to be a concern, although Thompson said personally he hasn’t had any issues on his ranch.
“Out west in the Chilcotin and east in Beaver Valley and Horsefly they’ve had some serious issues,” he said.
“It is an ongoing thing and I think the predators are going to get worse and the problem is going to get worse.”
Thompson was elected at the Cattlemen’s AGM in February for a one-year term.
He’d been director for about 15 years and when someone nominated him for president, he decided it was probably his turn, he said noting he was vice-president several years ago.
Besides, last year he and his wife sold the cattle from their 144 Mile Ranch so now he’s confident he will have more time to commit to the role as president.
The mandate of the association is to work for all local cattlemen.
There are directors from different areas within the region, which stretches east to Horsefly and west to Bella Coola.
Grant Huffman and Duncan Barnett sit as directors on the BC Cattlemen’s Association and the Cariboo-Cattlemen’s Association reports to the BC Cattlemen’s through Huffman and Barnett, Thompson said.