Each year, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) recognizes producers that exceed standard industry conservation practices through the Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA), in recognition that Canada’s beef cattle producers serve as stewards for a vast portion of land and play a significant role in protecting and enhancing the environment.
This year’s award winner was announced at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference, held virtually this year from August 11 to 13. The award was presented to Woodjam Ranch, owned and operated by Ricky and Chad Seelhof, along with their children Riata, Cooper, and Renee.
The Seelhof’s run a 500-head black Angus cow/calf ranch on 2,120 acres of cultivated and native rangeland, in association with 80,000 acres of grown grazing license area near Horsefly, B.C.
“Judging a recipient for this year’s TESA proved, as it always does, to be difficult due to the very impressive slate of nominees,” says Duane Thompson, chair of CCA’s environment committee.
Woodjam Ranch lies adjacent to the Horsefly river, in the heart of B.C.’s Cariboo region, and as such has 16 tributary creeks running through it. The Seelhof’s ensure that waterway health is maintained by planting a lot of willow, and work on riverbank restoration to prevent significant spring flooding normally due to riverbank erosion.
The family has been working in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to install eight large off-river watering systems and by adding in-ground piping. They also continue to develop pasture in higher areas to keep cattle off of flood-prone riparian areas.
The TESA judges wish to recognize the commitment of all nominees in bringing innovative conservation solutions to their operations that protect the environment and wildlife around them. The Seelhof’s will be hosted by the CCA at next year’s industry conference.