Now Accepting Applications for ASUR 1040 Applied Skills and Diversification

Starting August 1, 2017

Applications are being accepted for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program 1040 Applied Skills and Diversification.

This is a great opportunity to start off the program and have the opportunity to see the broad enterprises that ranches and farms in the region are using for their diversification strategies.  For more information see the Thompson Rivers University Ranching Program info.

This program qualifies for student loans and there are also quite a few student awards available. To apply for the TRU Grit awards see our blog post and apply today!


Latest Adventures of the Ranching Program- Melamen/Medicinal Plants

Cecelia managed to find one ripe berry!

Now in our second cohort, students got the opportunity to meet our local elder Cecelia De Rose who instructs us in traditional plant uses. Cecilia is a member of Esketemc First Nation and a long-time Secwepemcstin language teacher. Cecilia is an Elder advisor to our Applied Sustainable Ranching program for our Medicinal Plants module.

Our first and second cohort of students can also testify that Cecelia is also an expert “Indian Ice Cream” maker and Medicinal Plant Guide.  She also has a fantastic sense of humour and she KNOWS A LOT about many things.

Soopolallie/Soapberries or sometimes known as Buffalo Berries- made into “Indian Ice-Cream”

Last week we had the delight to have her in the classroom teaching students how to make Indian Ice-cream out of Soopolallie/Soapberries or sometimes known as Buffalo Berries.

Cecelia teaches Ranching Students about Medicines

Cecelia gave a presentation in class about the medicines in our area and brought examples of each to show students.

After lunch students and guests went on a Plant ID Walk close to Williams Lake. This year Cecelia points out, the soap berries are late- they weren’t ripe yet.

But we did manage to find and identify many other plants! Full Photo album here.

It is important for ranchers and students to understand the role of certain medicinal and food crops that are indigenous to the area and to create a relationship with these plants and understand their importance in the eco system and their roles in traditional indigenous life.

Cecelia was the perfect guide and we can’t wait to for next year’s plant walk!

Featuring: Van Immerzeel Family Host Ranch – The Colour V

We recently added the Van Immerzeel, Colour V Ranch to our Host Ranches. Check out what Cheryl Van Immerzeel had to tell us about her ranch.

15 years ago my husband and I first started this ranching adventure. We started off raising quality paints and quarter horses, and slowly expanded.  We have 3 sows and a boar and raise 4 litters of piglets a year, we sell as weaners and also raise to custom finish.  Now we have a herd of about 50 pure bred Simmental cows, mainly all originating from my husband’s family breeding program of 35+ years.

We do raise some steers to finish for customers, and sell the remainder.  We also raise meat birds and have laying hens.  We love being able to offer others the opportunity to have all natural, home grown, hormone and medicated free meat (organic). We also have our own milk cow and a large vegetable garden, and trying to grow some fruit trees for our area.  We are almost self-sufficient here, which has been a dream come true.

Our ranch has changed from the beginning of raising and training horses (I used to do all the training too), as we do not raise a lot of horses anymore, still a couple, but our main focus is the meat products.


We also range our beef cows in the summer, and do a large portion of our own hay, so it takes up a lot of our time.  Most of our hayfields are meadow, self-flooding in the spring so we do not have to irrigate which is nice, even on the dry years we still have some moisture in there.  When we first bought our ranch here, 9 years ago, it was highly over grazed, so we have been in the process of bringing back the pastures and also cross fencing to do more pasture rotation.

We calve out in February-April, because we are lower ground here and it is better to do it while the ground is frozen, rather than soggy and wet.  Foals are born in April or May.

About Us:

We have 3 children, Ellie age 12, Trace age 9, and Zadie-Lynn age 7.  They are all very active in the 4H program, as are Pete and I with volunteering our time and leadership.  I have been an active 4H leader for over 5 years, it is a great program. Both my husband and I went through agriculture programs back at Olds College.  We love to share our farm life with others.

Ranching Opportunity- Gulf Islands

Unique Full Time Position Available- Gulf Islands


Students graduating from Applied Sustainable Ranching Program or qualified applicants

More Details: 

Family run and owned beef and sheep farm on Prevost Island,  6 miles from the town of  Ganges on Salt Spring Island, by boat.


Our family has owned the farm since 1925. We urgently need a full-time employee who would be here year-round but even a student coming for the summer would be a big help, so we are open to any suggestions.

Prevost Island is not serviced by ferries or by B.C. Hydro, so travel is by boat  and we do nearly all our business in the town of Ganges, which is a 20 minute boat trip away.  We have solar power backed up by generators. Freight must come in by boat or barge, and once a year we have a big barge come which carries trucks bringing fertilizer, grain, fuel, and other freight in, and taking calves and cull cows out. We sell lambs to private customers, and have to ship the lambs out on a smaller barge and have them then trucked to the slaughterhouse. We grow all the hay needed for winter feed, so haying is a big job in June and early July. Other work includes cutting firewood, ploughing and reseeding pastures and hayfields, fencing, building maintenance, machinery maintenance and repairs, winter feeding of livestock, lambing, calving, and helping to run a portable sawmill.

Accommodation and transportation are provided. We are registered as employers with the CRA and make the required wage deductions as well as providing Worksafe B.C. coverage.

It is important that the employee have some knowledge of farm machinery and its safe operation and maintenance. Experience with livestock is a great help, but we are able to train someone in livestock handling. The employee should have a genuine interest in living in this situation, have a positive outlook, common sense, and a sense of humour and adventure! This is a job in which the living expenses are low, so  a young person could easily save quite a bit of the pay cheque and still live comfortably. The time off is usually flexible except for haying season.

For more information and to apply contact: Barbara de Burgh at



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