Province honors family for 100 years of ranching

The Poole family has received a B.C. Century Farm Award from the Ministry of Agriculture for 100 years of ranching.

At a Canadian Cattlemen’s Association meeting in Vanderhoof on Feb. 23

At a Canadian Cattlemen’s Association meeting in Vanderhoof on Feb. 23

The Poole family has received a B.C. Century Farm Award from the Ministry of Agriculture for 100 years of agricultural commitment to the province.

“Vanderhoof was the first agricultural settlement in the province, and the Poole family was one of the founding families of the region,” said Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.

“I congratulate the Poole family on this major milestone of 100 years in farming, as they are one of the reasons that Nechako is one of the top cattle ranching areas in the province.”

Times have changed enormously since brothers Alfred and Charles Poole traveled to the District of Vanderhoof on a wagon in 1912 and founded the ranch in the Mapes area.

The property has since grown enormously in size, from 160 acres of land to more than 3,500 acres.

“If you want to make a living farming now, you have to have a big farm, or work off the farm,” said Arthur Poole, the third generation of the Poole family.

To keep up with the pace of industrialization, the Pooles have equipped the ranch with lots of big, modern equipment to maximize efficiency.

“What took us a week to do before takes us a day to do now,” said Arthur.

The ranch has remained in the family for four generations, but changed hands twice.

In 1955, Charles Pool transferred the property to his daughter, Grace. In 2012, Arthur Poole took over the farm.

Hubert, Arthur’s father, still lives on the property with his wife, Edna.

“The farm today is the result of a lot of hard work by all members of the Poole family,” said Arthur.

Arthur’s brother Charles, head of the regional CCA, owns another large cattle farm in the area. The brothers still collaborate and assist each other as needed.

Selling the 100-year-old ranch has never been an option for Arthur Poole, who continues working long, 16-hour days with his son Dale. If anything, he would expand the property and hope that, one day, his daughter and two other sons will return home and take over operations.

The Century Farm Award honours agricultural organizations that have been active for 100 years or longer, as well as pioneers whose farms have been in families for as many years.

Each award celebrates the rich heritage of farming and ranching families and organizations in B.C.

More than 100 family farms or organizations have received the B.C. Century Farm Award.