The Seelhof family receives The Environmental Stewardship Award
By Diego Flammini
A ranching family from Horsefly, B.C. has won a national award from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).
Ricky and Chad Seelhof of Woodjam Ranch are the recipients of The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) from the CCA.
The organization has selected TESA recipients since 1996 to recognize farmers and ranchers who implement innovation and environmental stewardship as part of their business.
“We were definitely excited when we found out we won,” Chad told Farms.com. “We thought maybe the odds were stacked in our favour because B.C. has a lot going on here, but you never really know.”
Ricky and Chad, along with their three kids, run a 500-head Black Angus cow-calf operation on 2,120 acres of cultivated and native rangeland, which they purchased from Chad’s parents in 2013.
The family have had a focus on environmental stewardship since they moved to the farm in 2003, Chad said.
“We’re from Saskatchewan originally and the day we moved out was the day (the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) announced that BSE had hit,” he said. “Right from the get go we wanted to make improvements and set out to do it in an environmentally friendly way.”
The farm is located adjacent to the Horsefly River and has 16 fish-bearing tributaries running through it.
The family invested in 30 kilometres (19 miles) of fence to keep the cattle away from creeks. And the fencing is wildlife-friendly so deer and other animals can get through with ease.
Installing the fence near the small bodies of water has paid dividends, Chad said.
“When we fenced off that land it became a big game changer,” he said. “Now we can manage it and keep the cows off of our meadows all summer, and it’s allowed us to stretch our grazing out sometimes all the way to Christmas.”