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Farmers develop their ground game with upcoming BC Forage Council workshops

Workshops will be held in Smithers, Burns Lake, Vanderhoof, PG, Quesnel and Williams Lake
River Ranch cowboys bring home cattle from a fall meadow, a process which takes three days to complete, to feed for the winter months. (Raquel Russell file photo)

The healthier your ground, the healthier your livestock.

Local farmers will get a chance to hear directly from experts in that field, thanks to the BC Forage Council’s tour of the local area. Workshops will be held in Smithers, Burns Lake, Vanderhoof, Prince George, Quesnel and Williams Lake to nurture farmers’ and ranchers’ knowledge of the cyclical dirt-plant-animal relationship.

Each workshop will feature four speakers, in person, focused on the regenerative agriculture principles to make local operations more resilient and successful. The topics were chosen by the area’s farmers themselves, in a feedback process held earlier. It was identified that the subjects of interest were managing dual-purpose forage fields, incorporating cover crops, and exploring regional no-till seeding case study results. Of course farmers and ranchers also wanted to know the economic foundations for each of these concepts, so that will be part of the discussions as well.

“We want to give farmers the information they need to make the most of their resources – and highlight how these practices can be both economically and environmentally sustainable,” said Serena Black, the general manager of the BC Forage Council.

At each location on this tour, Black will deliver the results of the regional no-till seeding demonstrations.

Greg Tegart will present on managing dual-purpose forage fields.

Andrea Gunner will discuss the economics of forage and grazing.

Mike Witt will explain how to incorporate cover crops.

She said the five core principles of regenerative agriculture are: minimizing soil disturbance, maximizing crop

diversity, keeping the soils covered, maintaining living roots year-round, and integrating livestock.

“Many of the producers in our region are already utilizing many of these principles,” said Black. “It canbe a big risk for an operation to try something new, so having the right information to try one or two new things can make a difference.”

The Forage Council is able to provide this tour of forage and grazing learning thanks to funding provided by the federal and provincial governments through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, topped up by the Cattle Industry Development Council.

Black said there is value in the knowledge this panel of professionals will bring to the table, but there is also benefit in farmers and ranchers just getting together to meet one another in a setting like this, where local conditions can be the focus of the discussion.

“It’s been too long since we were able to gather in person and learn from each other about the best

practices in forage and livestock production in our region,” said Black.

These interactive seminars are free of charge, but participants must register to get the location details. The email address for this is

The panel discussions will be held in these locations:

Jan. 13 in Smithers (5:30-9:30 p.m.)

Jan. 14 in Burns Lake (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Jan. 14 in Vanderhoof (5:30-9:30 p.m.)

Jan. 15 in Prince George (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)

Jan. 16 in Quesnel (5:30-9:30 p.m.)

Jan. 17 in Williams Lake (10 a.m.-2 p.m.)

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Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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