Angie Mindus photo

Column: technology and ranching

Columnist David Zirnhelt on how new forms of technology are coming to the ranching sector

Technology was the theme of this year’s Annual General Meeting Education Day of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association.

I have been warming up to this topic as I feel our humanness is being overtaken by the constant dwelling in the built environment and now the virtual “reality” of the cyberworld.

Seniors struggling with new technology can lead to senior bashing, as some studies have shown recently that not being competent with the new stuff can open us up to ridicule.

I warmed up to the potential of technology to empower us to be more human.

Technology can enable storytelling about our lives and business; that is, positive narratives.

One speaker in particular, Christine Su, from California, whose venture is called “PastureMap” took on a mind-expanding tour about young people creating jobs in managing pastures and communicating in real time with customers of beef raised in a “regenerative” fashion.

She tells us that in five years, carbon-friendly beef will hit the shelves of mainstream stores. The carbon footprint of the product will be demonstrably smaller.

Regenerative Agriculture is defined as “farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverses climate change by rebuilding soil…”

One of the keys to this kind of carbon farming is leaving enough litter (old grass) on the surface that whatever rain falls soaks in and doesn’t run off.

Another practice being tested is putting out early red algae as a supplement which reduces 80 per cent of the ruminant methane.

Anti beef cattle opinions need to remember that one third of the land on earth is natural grassland and is not suitable for growing annual food crops.

Ms. Su quotes a recent major climate study about practices (all sectors) to reduce carbon release into the atmosphere cites this kind of agriculture in several of the top initiatives.

The study is called “Project Drawdown.” I have written about this in the past, when it first came out a year or so ago.

Technology can create abundant and regenerative careers for future farmers and ranchers.

Some of these careers are: carbon drawdown supply chain; watershed/landcape regenerative services; bison and beef terroir somnaliers; multispecies habitat designers; and architects design regenerative systems and practices.

Many computer and smart phone applications can allow learning about leased landscapes (property) without having to have 40 years of accumulated knowledge.

You can connect your ranch landscape to all who visit your large place.

This technology can free human time for higher value work: marketing, financial planning, visioning a better future for the ranch.

Ranchers can become influencers in social media and do much more networking with other people trying new methods.

The emerging technology that takes the cake for me is the virtual fencing being developed, where you can put a pasture on the smart device’s map and a collar on the cattle and if they approach the virtual fence, they get a small tingling electric message that stops them from crossing the “fence.”

All I can say is “don’t fence me in!” Virtually or really.

David Zirnhelt is a rancher in the Cariboo and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake Campus.

Just Posted

Police chase ends in two arrests

Suspects in stolen truck evade RCMP from Alberta border to Clearwater area

Barriere family airlifted to Vancouver due to carbon monoxide exposure have now returned home

A family of five from Barriere was transported to Vancouver for medical… Continue reading

TNRD renews Dangerous Dogs Contract for area

Highlights from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) Board of Directors’ meeting of Nov. 22

Milobar wants to see details of NDP’s Clean BC Plan

Jessica Wallace Kamloops This Week Environment advocates call for action from Prime… Continue reading

Sundhu new president of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo New Democrats

Candidate in 2015 will steer the riding association as another candidate is chosen for 2019 federal election campaign

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canadians spent almost $64,000 on goods and services in 2017

Households in B.C. each spent $71,001 with housing costs contributing to higher average

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

RCMP estimated more than 1,500 people attended the rally in Grande Prairie

White House closer to partial shutdown with wall demand

Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight on Friday, Dec. 21

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

Most Read