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BEPPLE – Here in cattle country, our ranches are becoming endangered

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

IF EVER KAMLOOPS thought it had shed its Cowtown past, Tuesday that delusion was cast aside.  There was a cow on the Highway 1 bypass, blocking traffic near the Peterson Creek Bridge, as it made its way from Upper Sahali to the Kamloopa Powwow Grounds.  There, the cow unfortunately met its demise, as it was put down by the RCMP on instructions from a veterinarian.

Social media was abuzz with sightings of the ill-fated cow.  Seeing a cow was news.  It is as if we have collectively forgotten we are in cattle country.

In the Kamloops region are some the oldest and largest ranches in the province.  Circle Creek Ranch, Frolek Cattle Company, and Devick’s Ranch are just some of the ranches in the greater Kamloops area.

In Campbell Creek is B.C. Livestock stockyards, where there are weekly sales of cattle.  There are a number of small feedlots near Kamloops, and several large farm equipment dealers as well.  Hay suppliers are busy all summer making bales for the long winters.

Even within the boundaries of the City of Kamloops, there are cattle.  Out past the airport in the fields off Tranquille Road, up in Barnhartvale along Campbell Creek Road, and on the edges of Aberdeen there are cattle grazing.  There are livestock in Heffley, Rayleigh, Lac du Bois, and the outer reaches of Westsyde as well.

So while we don’t expect or want to see cattle on the highway, they are a regular occurrence in our city.

What we should be doing is noticing cattle more.  And noticing how important the ranches are.

We shouldn’t be complacent that ranches will always be with us indefinitely.

Beautiful ranches are also beautiful real estate.  One of the closest ranches to Kamloops, Deleeuw Ranch in Knutsford, is currently being sold off in chunks.  The owners are at the age where they want to slow down.  It’s no fault to them that they are selling.  My aunt and uncle’s ranch was sold off in parcels too. Smaller parcels are what people buy. There aren’t many people buying large ranches these days.

Ranches take decades to build up.   But once sold as parcels, they become almost impossible to use for a viable ranch.

The growth of Kamloops will be one of the biggest threats to local ranching.  Driving through Knutsford or Cherry Creek, one can see in every direction, parcels of land which once had cows and calves, but now have mansions and luxury cars.

In Kamloops, 46 per cent of the City’s land is within the Agricultural Land Reserve.   The soon-to-be elected Kamloops council will be faced with requests to support the removal of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve.   The new council needs to recognize the importance of agriculture to our city and to the region.

Strengthening agriculture, supporting agriculture within City limits and in the surrounding areas is important.  Having a council that is committed to agriculture is important to us all.

Nancy Bepple is a former city councillor of Kamloops with a strong interest in community building projects.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6186 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on BEPPLE – Here in cattle country, our ranches are becoming endangered

  1. Tony Brumell // October 3, 2018 at 3:40 PM // Reply

    Why won’t the city start supporting the use of flat roofstops for small ag.plots ? Even if just for the folks who live / work in those buildings.Rooves in Kamloops have to be designed to hold 40 lbs / square foot of snow and ice.Guess what there isn’t much snow or ice in the growing season.So it seems to me that with very little modification the roughly 1000 hectares of flat roof in town could be used in more beneficial ways.Even Vancouver is starting to do that.Come on Council !!! Lets move into this century and start using this amazing resource to grow the food we need and stop importing it 3000 Km.Everyone would benefit. Thinking along that line imagine how much food could have been grown in/on the old Hudson Bay building .

  2. Tony Brumell // October 3, 2018 at 11:27 AM // Reply

    I often wonder what would happen to a cop who found it’self trapped in a cattle pen.Maybe the cows would shot it to prevent injury to others.

  3. We’re in trouble with more trouble coming that is unimaginable. My biggest but impossible wish is that I could come back in 100 years and see the results of our greed and lack of imagination.

  4. First of all, considering how negative red meat production is from an environmental point of view, it is perhaps not a bad thing ranching is on the diminishing.
    Secondly, the City should’ve never promoted the “xeriscape” idea, instead focusing all that effort and money in empowering each home owner to grow as much as their own food as possible. It is amazing to realize how productive even a small plot can be and most importantly realize all the consequences our collective choices have. Nancy where were you when I was talking these very things a few years back?

  5. Don Drysdale // October 3, 2018 at 8:42 AM // Reply

    Who can afford to buy beef. At todays prices who is buying it? They have priced themselves out of most peoples grocery budget.

  6. Keep in mind that “densification” can have a negative effect by making lots so small, they do not support the family garden which was part of life for us when I was a youngster.
    Increased areas of pavement and concrete also cause localized warming during the summer months, increasing our need for air conditioning and power consumption. Green grass and trees especially provide natural air conditioning, removal of carbon dioxide, production of oxygen and of course, shade from the summer sun.

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