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RANCH MUSINGS: Thoughts on growing feed for livestock

BC Forage Council Forage workshops are January 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)

Things are moving fast in agriculture these days. In preparation for this week’s column, I have surveyed some of the ranching and agriculture press.

So much is happening with the push to reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture and keep farmers in business. Big business in food retailing and food service, not to mention suppliers to producers, and investors are all pushing a more sustainable approach to growing food.

My advice to farmers, food lovers, food security interests and citizens generally is to find a source of farming news and stay up-to-date. For me this is a subscription to the Western Producer that publishes once a week and can fill your mailbox.

They produce articles and generally cover both sides of the arguments about regenerative agriculture, pro and con. My sense is that there is so much research and so many events to get the results of research out that any farmer is hard-pressed to work on operations and stay up-to-date on developments in farming.

Many articles in the Western Producer quote interviews with university researchers, applied demonstration and research organizations which are farmer-led, and most importantly farmers themselves.

Specifically for small and hobby farmers, the Small Farm Canada magazine is worthwhile. Ranchers can read their two magazines: Beef in BC and the Canadian Cattlemen (both monthly).

B.C.-specific information can be had from the Ministry of Agriculture frequent updates. In the Cariboo the regional agrologist publishes “The Roots,” an informative synopsis of current information and where to connect online or at in-person workshops. Be in touch with your regional agrologist in the B.C. Agriculture ministry.

Here are the details of the current set of workshops on forage in the Cariboo and the Highway 16 areas.

BC Forage Council Forage Workshops – January 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Topics that will be covered in each session:

Regional No-till Seeding Demonstration Results - Serena Black

Managing Dual-Purpose Forage Fields - Greg Tegart

Forage & Grazing Economics - Andrea Gunner

Incorporating Cover Crops on the Ranch - Mike Witt

The workshops will run Jan. 16 in Quesnel from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Jan. 17 in Williams Lake from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Registration is required for these free events. To get venue information email:, making sure to let them know how many people will be attending and at which location.

The BC Forage council is actively participating in a Canada-wide initiative called the Living Labs programs which includes demonstrations throughout B.C. on growing feed for livestock among other things.

I have mentioned before the good work of the Beef Cattle Research Council which has easy reading about current topics for the ranching industry – a must for beef producers.

In order to stay on top of our industry challenges and opportunities, we as citizens of the agriculture world, need to devote more and more time to getting good information and helping to steer to knowledge producers.

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