Despite past difficulties the cattle industry is steadily rebuilding from the hard times, says Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association president Cuyler Huffman.
“In terms of the cattle industry, things are pretty good,” Huffman says. “Yes prices are high for all classes of cattle. It’s nice to see the ranching industry become profitable again.”
With prices high, he says ranchers are slowly gaining back some of the equity they have lost over the past 12 years.
“These years were the toughest the ranching industry has seen, eroding equity in everyone’s ranch businesses,” Huffman says.
“With the recent optimism, I think there will probably be some renewed interest for younger people to pursue ranching as a career.
“I don’t believe ranching will ever be a get rich career, but offers a stable, stay at home way of life. Young people see the volatility in industries such as oil and gas and mining and may see an opportunity to stay on a family operation rather than travel to work far away.”
He says the Cariboo remains a mainstay for the cattle industry in B.C. “We still see strong cattle numbers to the local Williams Lake Stockyards of the highest quality in the country. “The Cariboo can be proud of our ranching heritage and the industry should be recognized as a strong economic driver of our local economy. There are many spinoff benefits to the economy from the ranching sector.”
Meanwhile out at the Alkali Lake Ranch nature sometimes needs a little nudge. When Cowboy Corben Clarkson spotted a newborn calf out in the grasslands traveling alongside his mother he noted that the calf hadn’t been getting enough nourishment and was looking a bit too dehydrated.
Sure enough, although the cow was an attentive mother, a couple of her teats had swollen to such a size that the calf could not suck on them properly and therefore was not getting enough milk.
Once the cow had been herded along to the nearest corral and confined within it, Corben, who had been horseback, hopped in the pickup and went back to get her calf. When back at the corral Corben milked the cow and then gave the calf a good feeding (bottle (tube)-fed), after which the calf was reunited with its mother and the pair were kept in the pen for another day or two until it was certain the calf was feeding well before turning the duo back out to pasture.