Over 250 cattle live, breed and are auctioned from this beautiful space. The amount of land greatly outnumbers the cattle, much higher than the typical “rule of thumb” of 1.5 acres per cow and calf pair. Because of the cow to land ratio, the environmental impacts are immensely lower than typical cattle industry ranches. Also, the land is filled with the natural forest and a few hay fields creating a sustainable and environmentally conscious environment.
Moving forwards, Columbia Lake Ranch is looking to grow into new opportunities, the latest example being education. Partnered with Columbia Lake Technology Center, Columbia Lake Ranch values the education of younger generations and wants to help people expand their knowledge of and experiences in agriculture. Recently, the ranch hosted a veterinary student, who was born and raised on Bowen Island, British Columbia and developed a love of animals and science throughout her life. After completing her Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia, she started the veterinary program based out of the University of Melbourne in Australia. This particular program teaches the basics about veterinary medicine and allows specialization with their “Tracks Program”. Our visiting student dreams of specializing in equine, which made the program offered through the University of Melbourne appeasing. After the completion of her semester, it is required to have a 5-day placement to increase the breadth of industries the students are exposed to. This student came to stay at Columbia Lake Ranch for her placement.
Organized through the university, the ranch placement aims to expand and grow a student’s knowledge into a practical environment. Students live on the ranch and take part in daily ranch chores and activities, developing an understanding of the animals in context, and gaining valuable knowledge of how a ranch operates. Our visiting student this summer takes back relationships with the field in which she will work – what a gift to her future clientele!
The first day was spent getting to know the ranch. From the general navigation of backroads and trails, to the animals which resided in different pastures, there was plenty of exploration to be completed. As the days progressed more duties were performed and shadowed. This included relocating cattle between pastures, caring for horses, and learning the ranch lifestyle. By the completion of the five-days our guest had processed an amount of information and was becoming a bit of a rancher herself!