By Angela Abrahão –

In January, the Ranching program welcomes the third cohort of students and the ranching community has stepped up with some generous donations for student awards. Applications for the entrance awards are open now and close on December 20. These major awards are The Bill Freding Memorial Award for $6,000 ($1,000 of this from Doug Haughton in memory of Bill) and the Cariboo GMC 4-H Award for $5,200 that is open to 4-H members or 4-H Alumni.

Cohort 2 Fencing at Rafter 25, Cornelius Tygat, Natalie Ballan, Sam Ballan, Majeed Nashiru, Vickie Recknagle, Jade Rogers, Jamie Demers, Carlos Dramirez, and Freya Kellet. Photo: Jill Watt

TRU Grit also offers awards for students enrolled on the Williams Lake campus. Recognizing how important education was to the community, Brian Garland originally championed TRU Grit and was chair of the TRU Grit committee from inception until last year when Mark Nairn took over. The committee was established and supported by a group of like-minded people who were interested in promoting and supporting the Williams Lake Campus. Over the years TRU Grit has raised funds to provide bursaries to students and input and support to curriculum development.

Other generous student award donations for this program given throughout the year have come from the TRU General Awards, BC Farm Women’s Network, and the Cariboo Woodlot Education Society.

In addition to the entrance award, the Freding Family has donated an additional $5,000 each year for The Bill Freding First Year Student Award, to be awarded to a student showing resilience and innovation in his/her first year of studies. This award will be announced November 18, 2017 at the TRU Ranching Beef and Beer Meat-Up and Grad Celebration. Last year’s winner of the award (trophy only at that time) was Vicky Granberg.

There are many financial opportunities for students in the Cariboo to attend the Ranching program. Eighty-five per cent of attending students in the first cohort received financial awards towards their tuition. Many thanks to the student award sponsors.

First Cohort to Graduate November 18, 2017

The first cohort of students will graduate in November from the program with a fully tailored business, operations, and land use management plan for their ranch. The second cohort is ramping up for its second year to learn about beef production with local instructor and long-time rancher Grant Hoffman, followed by sheep and forage production, soft adventure, and agritourism.

The second cohort includes international students from Ghana, Switzerland, Belgium, and Mexico. Students are taking advantage of the opportunity the program offers by working and learning on host. The host ranch opportunity allows students to work on local operations around the Cariboo-Chilcotin and gain hands-on experience with ranching operations. Those local students who come from ranches can also choose to work and study from home, some on third generation ranches.

There are many exciting job opportunities related to agriculture for students. One student graduate has recently moved into the third year of the Olds Agribusiness degree program. Many students will become part of a farm or ranch management team, while others will focus on marketing in the agriculture sector or work in economic or community development. Students have been actively engaged in addressing food security and climate change issues and are interested in carrying on the management practices they have learned. They have shown continuing interest in having resilient operations that will help guide them through times of change.

Students enrolled in the program can apply for BC and Canada student loans as the program is accredited. The program looks forward to welcoming students into the third cohort. For more information about awards and to find applications, visit

To register, contact program director, Gillian Watt at (250) 319-2367.

Angela Abrahão lives in Williams Lake and with her husband frequents their Brazilian farm and sugar cane co-op which produces ethanol, sugar, and energy. Angela is an herbalist, writer, and permaculture designer and is a consultant for digital marketing with a focus on agriculture. She is a graduate of the Applied Sustainable Ranching program at TRU. You can follow along on Facebook at /AppliedSustainableRanching


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