Julia Flinton returned from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association Annual General Meeting in Ottawa knowing she was on the right path.
“That trip was great for me and it affirmed that I’m doing what I want to be doing,” she said.
Flinton grew up on a farm in the Cariboo.
“It’s always kind of been my thing,” she said, though she had put the passion for ranching on the back burner while she pursued hockey, using it to get a scholarship to the University of Saskatchewan.
The trip was part of the mentorship program she is participating in with the Young Cattlemen’s Association. She had applied for the Cattlemen’s Young Leadership (CYL) program last year, and went through the rigorous selection process to be one of the 16 young people chosen to participate.
As a part of the program, participants choose a focus and are given a mentor in the industry and allocated a budget which they can use to take courses, visit their mentors, and go to events.
Flinton’s focus is Indigenous relations within the ranching community.
“I think right now there’s so much tension with treaty,” explained Flinton. “I think it’s just about having conversations where everybody feels heard. The conversation needs to be had in a healthy way.”
Flinton’s partner and daughter are members of the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) and she works for WLFN in the Title and Rights department.
The mentor she was paired with for the CYL program is Nicola Valley rancher Judy Guichon, who served as the 29th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
Flinton describes Guichon as a “salt of the earth” woman who is “very in tune with all of the issues going on right now.”
Flinton said Guichon has worked with the First Nations near her ranch for decades.
“She’s just fostered some really good relationship in that community.”
At the Cattleman’s AGM, Flinton said some of the key topics the organization was focusing on were the environment, international trade and risk management tools to help young people get into the industry.
“It’s just impossible with land prices and the amount of debt you have to take on,” she said.