Ranchers and students, as well as government officials including the Lieutenant Governor, took to the Williams Lake Tourism Discovery Centre on Tuesday evening to celebrate the launch of the Applied Sustainable Ranching Certificate Program (ASUR).
Honorable Judith Guichon was the first to take to the mic remarking how she felt good to be back in the ranching community.
She says industries including wine have a lot to teach us in value-added products.
“It’s becoming widely known in areas just for the wines so they’ve done a tremendous job with value added. I think that this is just the beginning, once we get those sustainable ranches producing not just beef; they’ll produce lots of things.”
Guichon also says artists in Victoria were recently able to create $150,000 in product from a 100-year-old single oak tree and is confident that perhaps the same can be done for the beef industry.
TRU’s Applied Sustainable Ranching Program was nearly a decade in the making, with funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education falling through this summer.
“He (Andrew Wilkinson) came here, he listened, he went away, and I looked at him and smiled and I said okay,” says Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett.
“Everyday I used to say something to him and finally one day he said okay how long do I have to get you some money for something so you will go away and shut up, and I said you have until July 1st, 2015.”
Some special announcements were made during the launch included:
- Chair of the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC) Bob Simpson announcing that CCBAC will contribute $100,000 towards the development and delivery of ASUR.
- The creation of an Industry Advisory Committee to ensure ASUR’s success now and into the future
- TRU Grit (a group of local community members in Williams Lake committed to supporting post-secondary education in the Cariboo) increasing their contributions for student entrance bursaries and awards by $12,000
The launch party wrapped up with a log bench crafted by the Timber Kings and branded with the TRU Grit logo in the center and Pioneer Log Homes on the left side presented to Guichon.
TRU says graduates of ASUR can go into the degree program in agribusiness at Olds, Alberta and that the next step is to bring that program here.
Next intake for ASUR is in January.