Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association director and columnist David Zirnhelt’s latest column talks about older leadership preparing to give way to the next generation. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

RANCH MUSINGS: In the face of adversity, an older generation prepares

In the face of adversity, an older leadership prepares to give way to the next generation

In the face of adversity, an older leadership prepares to give way to the next generation.

That would be how I characterize the situation for some agricultural organizations.

At the appropriate time older folks bowing out of leadership roles will make way for a successor generation who have the future ahead of them.

Looking back is fine but … it is full of mistakes.

In order to move forward with confidence in your farm’s or ranch’s ability to thrive you need vision, determination and maybe some time. In spite of the climate’s changing variability and world economic trading uncertainties, looking to a possible positive future is a must.

We have all heard that: “Where there is no vision the people will perish.”

This is a biblical quote often invoked in our culture to mean simply that you have to see the future and believe that a positive future state is possible.

I don’t mean to get into a theological debate about the meaning of this reference in a more religious context.

Most ranchers and farmers believe in a positive future but when the going gets tough, we need inspiration to keep going towards our vision.

READ MORE: Thank goodness the land line phone still works

That is where the “vision” comes in: seeing through imagination a positive future. Successful people invariably have a “view” of a positive future state of their situation. And they make it so.

So, too, organizations and communities need to proceed with a vision to guide them.

The Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association, as you may have read in this paper, has adopted a vision looking ahead 20 years.

The following are direct quotes from the strategic plan: Vision 2040

“Public Perception:

“Cattlemen have gained a social licence as stewards of the land. They are regarded as trusted guardians of the grazing resource and welcomed on public lands. Over the years Cariboo Cattlemen have received numerous awards and public recognition for good farming practices. As valued healthy protein producers, they have promoted beef production as being friendly to the environment. A CCA newsletter is a major communications publication that keeps the members, collaborating organizations and the general public up-to-date on industry and local happenings. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Cariboo Beef Marketing Board, the public appreciates the industry’s progress over those years.

“Succession and Transition:

Young people want to be farmers and ranchers, as they confidently pursue their careers. Over the years ranchers have retained their land base and range use. Industry, government and the public support both the new entrants and established operators. The continuity of heritage and generational wealth has kept the community thriving. Leasing land from both government and private sources has increased, relative to private ownership. In contrast to 2019, the land transition included seeing fewer properties being bought for larger ranches. Environment goods & services (EG&S) credits are available to support farm succession and general operation income.”

The whole plan will be soon posted to the website, or e-mail me or any director to discuss it.

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at TRU.

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