Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association eyes the next 20 years

Directors develop a strategic plan

The Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association has developed a strategic plan to guide itself to 2040.

“We want to regenerate the industry, collaborate with our community partners, First Nations and government, and build up public perception,” said president Cordy Cox of the plan’s intent.

As one of the younger generation members, Cox began to realize the importance of tapping into the ‘vast wealth of knowledge’ that exists within the Cattlemen’s Association.

“We have a number of directors who have been involved in the industry for so many years and what happens when they decide to move on to other things? If that knowledge hasn’t been transferred and there is no succession plan put in place where are we going to be?”

About the same time, long-time director and rancher David Zirnhelt was also thinking about the need to do strategic planning so once they realized they had that in common they decided to make it happen.

Zirnhelt invited consultant Jim Morrison to conduct a strategic planning workshop and on June 12, 2019 directors Roger Patenaude, Duncan Barnett, Corky Tucker, Bob Russel, Ron Kaufman, Clint Thompson, Zirnhelt, Grant Huffman, Cuyler Huffman and Angela Abraho participated.

Zirnhelt shared the plan on Friday, Feb. 7 at the Cattlemen’s AGM.

Read more: Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association AGM well attended, ‘mass’ amount of regulations main concern

“We need to build up the public perception of ranchers as stewards of the land and producers of health food and husbanders of livestock,” Zirnhelt said of one of the aims of the plan. “We have to deal with this because our market is looking at us and cannot let down our guard on this.”

Within the first year of the strategic plan, the association expects to publish a newsletter, host a farm tour with school children and organize a BC Agriculture Council program for members and engagement with the public.

Cox said the next time there’s a downturn in the industry operators are going to be in pretty bad shape if they don’t take matters into their own hands.

“We want the government as the regulator, and hopefully our economic partner, to share in our strategy,” she said. “We want to thrive and we want to keep people on the land.”

Cox said the fact they’ve developed a strategic plan is because they are lucky to have one of the strongest and most active regional cattlemen’s associations in the province.

Read more: RANCH MUSINGS: Inclusiveness in ranching and agriculture

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