David Zirnhelt’s Column in the Williams Lake Tribune | Sign up now for TRU, and tell everyone

We are so lucky to have talented instructors, directors and advisors for the Applied Sustainable Ranching program. See the article below that David Zirnhelt has written for the Williams Lake Tribune about the program. He hits all the points that make this learning experience well worth it.  A common question we get from potential students is “How would I be able to do this program and keep up on the ranch?”

David’s article answers a lot of questions prospective students ask. So if your thinking about the program but hesitating because you think it might not fit into your life, you might be surprised. Read David’s article below and contact program director Jill Watt to see how this could fit into your life.

“When they are at home or placed in a ranch/farm setting they work half time for the host and do online work, half time independent study and group work. This type of learning/teaching is a wave of the future. It is called experiential learning. Combining online study with face-to-face learning is a recipe for success. The major work of the course is all geared for the completion of a business and operational plan for a ranch/farm business, although the business training itself would serve any business well. ”

See David’s full article here.

Contact Jill here:

Gillian Watt, BScAg.MBA
Program Coordinator
Applied Sustainable Ranching
250 319 2367 (c)





Applied Sustainable Ranching 2017 Accepting New Student Intakes

The new year is about to start and the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program is ramping up for it’s next round of new students. Are you one of them?

See all the interesting career opportunities possible and the benefits from a program that focuses on sustainability and the environment while helping to build better communities.

Apply today.



Cariboo Chevrolet Buick GMC Entrance Award | Application Deadline: January 15, 2017

Cariboo Chevrolet Buick GMC Entrance Award: Open to current 4-H members and 4-H alumni.

Application Deadline: January 15, 2017

This $5,200 award is open to current 4-H members and 4-H alumni who have been out of 4-H for up to 5 years, in the province of BC who are applying to enter the Applied Ranching Program at the TRU Williams Lake Campus.  Preference will be given to members within the Cariboo Region.


Applicants will be required to submit a 300-500 word essay outlining why they want to enter the Applied Ranching program at TRU Williams Lake campus. Applicants are encouraged to provide information about themselves and outlining any work done in the 4-H program. The successful applicants will have the value of this award credited to their tuition account on a semesterized basis.

Inquiries about this award or the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program should be directed to:

Gillian Watt, Program Coordinator
Cell: 250-319-2367


Cariboo Chevrolet Buick GMC Entrance Award 2017

Bill Freding Memorial Entrance Award | Application Deadline: January 10, 2017

TRU is now accepting applications for ASUR 1020 Sustainable Business Enterprise starting January 23, 2017. We are pleased to announce the Bill Freding Memorial Entrance Award. Application Deadline: January 10, 2017

Bill Freding Memorial Entrance Award

The successful applicants will have the value of this award credited to their tuition account on a semesterized basis.

One $5,000 award will be awarded annually to a first year student in the Applied Sustainable Ranching program in memory of Bill Freding, a pioneer in the agriculture industry with a passion for lifelong learning and giving back to the community and industry he loved.

Bill Freding had a deep understanding and commitment to the BC beef industry and was always there to lend a hand, provide insight or attend an event. Bill was a strong supporter of developing the local markets and was on the front line when it came to trying new ideas. Bill was very patient and passionate about teaching newcomers to the industry. He was an instigator of fun, learning and innovation.

Applicant must:

Be a student enrolled in the Applied Sustainable Ranching program at Thompson Rivers University – Williams Lake Campus

Submit an essay of three to five pages that answer the following questions:

  • What has the agricultural industry given you?
  • What can you do to help support the positive face of agriculture in today’s society?
  • What do you see as the most effective means to educate consumers about the beef industry?
  • How are you planning to use the knowledge you gain from the Applied Sustainable Ranching program?

The awards will be applied as a tuition reduction of $1,000 for full-time students and $500 for part-time students at the start of classes in the Fall 2016 semester. The remaining amount will be applied as a tuition reduction for the Winter 2017 semester.

Bill Freding Memorial Entrance Award 2017 Application

PDF available here:

Bill Freding Memorial Entrance Award 2017 Application


  1. Complete all sections of this application form.
  2. Submit a three to five page essay answering the following questions:
  • What has the agricultural industry given you?
  • What can you do to help support the positive face of agriculture in today’s society?
  • What do you see as the most effective means to educate consumers about the beef industry?
  • How are you planning to use the knowledge you gain from the Applied Sustainable Ranching program?
  1. Submit a Grade 12 transcript with your application


Personal Information:

Name: (Family, first, middle) _________________________________

Preferred Name: _____________

Street: _____________________________________________________________________

City: _________________________________Province: _____________

Postal Code: ______________

Phone: ______________________________

Email: _________________________________________

Date of Birth: (Y/M/D) ___________________________________Gender:  M  F 

Social Insurance number_______________________

TRU student number (if available) _____________

Education Information:

Name of secondary school currently attending or last attended: _________________________________

School phone number: _________________________

Fax number: _____________________________

Anticipated graduation date from secondary school (if applicable): _______________________________


I hereby certify that the information submitted in the preceding section and in my personal essay is, to the best of my knowledge, complete and accurate. I authorize the release of all secondary school interim and final grades to Thompson Rivers University.

Should I be awarded an award, I agree that my name may be released to scholarship donors and my secondary school and may appear in a published list of award winners.

Signature: _________________________________________

Date: ____________________________

  • Please note that only successful applicants will be notified. If special circumstances exist (such as the recipient being medically unfit or being the recipient of another scholarship), TRU may, at the discretion of the Financial Aid and Awards Office, defer the period of acceptance for a maximum one year. The student is not permitted to defer the award to future years.
  • Should the award recipient withdraw during the first or subsequent semesters of the period of study for which the award is granted, the balance of the award will be cancelled.

Submit your application and essay to:

Student Awards and Financial support

Email: awards@tru.ca

Please enter “Bill Freding Memorial Award” as the subject line of your email.

Emailed applications are required


Stock Dog Training Seminar with Lorne Landry

Students made their way to 105 Mile to visit the Sandhill Lea Ranch, home of Lorne Landry and his amazing stock dogs.  Lorne holds sheep dog trails on his property and he invited students to bring their dogs out to his ranch so they could get a taste of stock dog training.

Lorne's Ranch Sandhill Lea, home to his amazing stock dogs

Lorne produces grass fed beef and lamb and he has working stock dogs to help him out. Lorne’s stock dogs are trained to bring the lambs out to the pasture and to bring them back in. It was truly an amazing sight to see his dogs work. Calmly,with precision the dogs can move the flock one way or another, and go bring them home! Even from a very very far distance Lorne’s dog knew what it was supposed to do and did it effectively.


Working with the instincts of these herding dogs is the key to having a successful working stock dog.  I think we left this stock dog clinic with a whole new appreciation for how a dog can work at a really high level and how this could be such a beneficial relationship and function on a ranching or farming operation.


Students got a chance to bring their dogs in with the sheep to participate, and try it out. Lorne was great. I think we were all a little scared of how the dogs were going to react, but Lorne was a great instructor and within a few minutes we could see what he was trying to get the dog to do and he took control when needed to make sure the sheep were safe and that the dog knew its role. IMG_3249


All in all, a fantastic day with Lorne and students with the Applied Sustainable Ranching program. I know, for me- I want to get all the books he recommended and keep learning more.




Diversification: Raspberry Farm & Apple Orchard – Fraserbench Farms

This week was a busy one as we have entered full swing into the diversification section of our applied skills course in the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program here at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake.


For our first diversification seminar we traveled out towards Soda Creek, along the Fraser River in the Cariboo and found ourselves at Fraser Bench Farm and home of Charlie and Lynda Archibald.


Lynda’s place is incredible, and a real testament to the idea of “staying in place” -she’s been on that site for thirty years, and the establishment of her trees, and berry bushes and flowers shows it. Lynda has a successful raspberry enterprise where she grows, picks and sells fresh and frozen berries. She is a great example of diversification as she has several businesses on her farm.

Lynda's on-site farm stand

Lynda has created diversification with her apple orchard with apple sales, juice sales and she creates her own apple cider vinegar product that is in high demand.  She is part of the Cariboo Grower’s co-op and grows onions and early garlic for them to sell in Williams Lake.  Her set-up was simple and showed that with a little creativity setting up an additional enterprise on your ranch or farm could be easily established.

Along the Fraser

We enjoyed Lynda’s farm so much, spending a lot of time learning from her, but also a lot of time sitting on her deck in the warm micro-climate, basking in the sun and flowers.


No wonder she has invested so much of her time in this beautiful place, how could you not?







Ranching Students Visit Historic Gang Ranch for Curt Pate Stockmanship Clinic

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.

Class Field Day

The TRU ranching students have been busy at week on the third module of their program, ASUR 1030 Environmentally Sustainable Ranching.

July 8 Seminar 3

Once a week, the students come to the university to discuss their projects and assignments and participate in a field day. Last Friday, they were lucky to have Verna Miller and Brenda Walkem attend their presentations on native plants.

July 8 Seminar 2 July 8 Seminar 1

They were then treated to a field walk with Cecelia Derose, who showed them how to make “Indian ice cream.”

Cecelia took them berry picking, where they picked Hooshum, also known as soopolallie berries, and then proceeded to show them how to make this delicious treat.

July 8 Seminar 4 July 8 Seminar 6


Just another day of class for the ranching students!

July 8 Seminar 7