At the end of August the trifecta of ranching happened when the Gang Ranch- one of the largest ranches in Canada met Stockman Clinician Curt Pate, and a group of students from the Thompson Rivers University’s newly minted Applied Sustainable Ranching Program.
It was a testament to the program’s commitment to industry partners to have organized this coming together, and a witnessing of industry support in the endeavor to educate up and coming ranchers and their diverse enterprises.
Students prepared ahead of time, packed up horses and tack, loaded their trailers and set off down the road last week, headed for the Gang Ranch. Curt Pate began his formal training 25 years ago, and now passes along his skills and knowledge in stockmanship onto his students through demo’s, clinics and on-site training. Students were lucky to have spent three days on the scenic and historic Gang Ranch for this clinic with him.
Curt believes” If we are managing livestock for environmental sustainability it should be profitable to maintain over long periods of time. Proper placement of the animal as well as timing of grazing is very important for sustainability, as well as being able to manage livestock health and marketing. This requires handling the animals. Handling livestock is a skill, and skills are learned and improved upon.”
These values and beliefs are mirrored in the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program, and students had the opportunity to spend time and learn from Curt about managing livestock and realize how important those livestock handling skills can be.
Student Aaron Herrick, a third generation Rancher from the Pablo Mountain Ranch in the Cariboo shared his learning, “I really enjoyed the experience at Gang Ranch, site seeing around the ranch was great, Larry and Bev were awesome hosts and the Curt Pate clinic was excellent, I learned to apply pressure from the side of cattle, as opposed to the back. The way we handle cattle with less stress will improve gains and generate more profit, as well as make cattle easier to handle.”
Livestock skills are important for places such as the Gang Ranch, primarily a cow/calf operation that covers over a million acres. The history of the Gang Ranch is rich with stories of cowboys, horses, and cattle on this long running operation. Unique to this large area are the canyons, rivers and mountain hillsides that cover large and diverse climactic zones for cattle to graze.
Ranching student Megan Flatt relates her experience, “The Gang Ranch was fantastic… the food, the friendship, the clinic, the hospitality, the laughs and the memories will last a lifetime. When in my life would I ever be able to spend time on a real working ranch of this size? I attended a great clinic to learn horsemanship and stockmanship with Curt Pate, got to hang with Larry, Bev and the Gang Cowboys, and learn new skills… skills that I can use in my own operation. When I left, I was tired, but when I got home, I wanted more.”
Combining together the Gang Ranch, Curt Pate and the students who have been
working hard in the Applied Sustainable Ranching there are some very good teaching moments, to a very receptive audience. Unforgettable moments in a vast landscape. The essence of ranching, and the best in the legacy of cattle culture.