Column: Support ranching

Last week at the legislature, B.C. Beef Day was celebrated by various groups.

Last week at the Legislature, on B.C. Beef Day, MLAs, the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, B.C. Breeder and Feeder Association, B.C. Association of Cattle Feeders, B.C. Abattoir Association and Thompson River’s University celebrated B.C. beef.

I was pleased to join other MLAs and Ministers and meet with the BC Cattlemen’s Association and discuss ideas and strategies to ensure that our beef industry here in B.C. stays strong and prosperous. The B.C. Cattlemen’s Association has represented beef cattle ranchers’ interests in our province since 1929. B.C. ranchers have raised high quality beef for the past 150 years. The B.C. Cattlemen’s Association follows the highest standards of care and treatment for their cattle. One practical solution to sustain this important industry is to make sure that young ranchers, young business people and young leaders enter this sector to ensure its continued success. Our government’s strong partnership with industry will ensure we reach our goal.

To help young people get ranching jobs, it’s important that they have access to the skills training they will need to get those jobs. Here in Williams Lake, Thompson Rivers University’s new applied sustainable ranching certificate program offers students a fantastic practical-based ranching education. Students get to participating in real-life ranching operations in B.C. Students learn how to design ranching enterprises that fit the environment while providing a return on investment. Students gain an understanding of how ranch and rangeland eco-systems react to management decisions. Students also learn the needs of livestock and how best to manage the natural environment to produce nutritious proteins to feed the world. Having been raised on a farm, I’m proud that ranching is part of my heritage. It’s one of the mainstays of our economy here in the Cariboo.

We need to celebrate those who have contributed to our ranching industry, those who continue to contribute to our ranching industry and those who will contribute to our ranching industry in the future. You can learn more about the BCCA at www.cattlemen.bc.ca/. If you or someone you know is interested in working in the ranching industry, you can learn more about Thompson Rivers University’s Applied Sustainable Ranching program at www.tru.ca/williamslake/programs/sre.html.

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.

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