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subsidized. Charchuk said the plant could be built to federal standards and contract Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspectors if local ranchers are keen to supply interprovincial markets.

Training expanding

A shortage of workers plagues Canada’s meat processing sector, but demand for training is up. TRU’s Retail Meat

Processing Certificate is “growing by leaps and bounds” and the BC Association of Abattoirs will host its second abattoir training session in Courtenay in January. “We are not trying to shut

anyone out,” says Charchuk. “I think we can all work hand in hand.” Charchuk says a training

centre attached to a plant would support more in-depth training at the proposed Centre of Excellence. The plant could handle 20 animals a day and have a hanging capacity of 70 head. This is important because,

according to Charchuk, “no one has time to take students through their plant in the fall.” This was backed up by Ron Keely of Kam Lake-View Meats, west of Kamloops, who described his plant as “pushed to the max.” Many want to see training in BC include an

CIDC Check-off


Beef at

apprenticeship program leading to master butcher certification as is found in Europe. There, a student learns “packing house” style skills right up to charcuterie. Participants noted that the profit in direct marketing is in value added – offering sausage and smoked meats along with specialty cuts. Sandy Vanderbyl, who

works with BC Beef Net, noted that the Centre of Excellence would be an ideal location for the Beef Net on-line ordering platform. She also outlined a number of research interests for the industry.

Strengths and weaknesses

The afternoon saw ranchers discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Cariboo region as a location for direct marketing of grass fed beef, while students took those ideas into consideration for their business analysis assignment. Good quality natural grass, with rancher expertise in pasture management, is a key strength for grass-fed beef production in the Cariboo. It needs to be balanced with a shorter growing season that sees animals put on dry feed and, in some locations, lengthens the time needed to reach market weight. Relatively low land prices compared to other areas in BC are balanced against the distance to specialty markets in the Lower Mainland.

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COUNTRY LIFE IN BC • JANUARY 2018 Sustainable success

The Bill Freding Memorial first-year student award was a highlight of the graduation ceremony in November for the Thompson Rivers University Applied Sustainable Ranching program. This $5,000 award is given to a student entering the program’s second year who has shown innovation and resilience in the first year of studies. Darlene Freding, right, addressed the students and then presented the award to Sam Ballan of 111 Mile Ranch. Program director Gillian Watt, left, joined them during the presentation. ANGELA ABRAHAO PHOTO

Quality processing remains

a key component of a direct market operation. Taking the care that a specialty customer would demand, having the ability to provide a quality product, together with

packaging, labeling, customer relationships and marketing skills, as well as a product brand, are all requirements for direct marketing. You can always sell a commodity animal, ranchers


“But there are few other options from the auction in the fall,” Zirnhelt adds. “There is a lot of room in the industry to get into strategic partnerships.”

First grad for ranching program


graduation ceremony for Thompson Rivers University’s Applied Sustainable Ranching program took place at TRU’s Williams Lake campus in November. Seven students enrolled in

the two-year program received certificates in the ceremony. The majority worked from their home or family ranch in the area, with

the exception of a Yukon student placed at a host ranch.

The graduation celebration

was a Cariboo-style party. Six area ranches supplied beef and partnered with a local chef to create a chili that was paired with a local craft beer. Honours for the best chili and beer pairing went to Horn Ranch, chef Gerardo Cibrian of El Caballo Restaurant and Retro Dog Blonde from Jackson’s Social

Club and Brewery, all of 100 Mile House.

The celebration raised $1,200 towards the TRU ranching speaker series and TRU GRT financial awards. The program’s second class just finished its first year. It has 12 students, including participants from Ghana, Mexico, Switzerland and Belgium.

Students complete four hours a day of on-line homework. Students also meet once a week in person or via webinar.

The meetings may be a


Let us help you show the good things you already do for on-farm food safety, biosecurity, environmental stewardship and animal care.

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Beef at



Feb 17, 2018 — 23rd Annual Pine Bue Ranch Horned Hereford Producon Sale, Kamloops

March 31, 2018—45th Annual Dawson Creek All Breeds Bull Sale

April 14, 2018 — 43nd Annual Vanderhoof All Breeds Bull Sale

April 19 & 20, 2018 81st Annual Williams Lake Bull Show & Sale

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class, seminar or field day. Students are also expected to contribute 15 to 20 hours a week to their home ranch in exchange for room and board.

Strong support The program enjoys strong

support from the ranching community. “We are able to teach both the business and hands-on practical aspects of the ranching industry,” says program director Gillian Watt. “Many of our classes feature a local rancher sharing their expertise.”

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