BC Cattle Rancher
Janice and Trevor Tapp are the owners of Copper-T Ranch, located in BC’s beautiful Nechako region. In 2017 they won the BC Cattleman’s Ranch Sustainability Award for their approach to land and water care, environmental stewardship, animal care, community involvement and succession planning. They have a current Environmental Farm Plan and in addition, as part of BC’s Verified Beef Plus program, they adhere to high standards for food safety, animal care and environmental stewardship.
Read their profile to find out about their approach to caring for their animals and their land.
We Heart Local BC: Tell us about your ranch – where is it and how many head of cattle do you raise?
Janice and Trevor Tapp: We are located west of Fraser Lake in central British Columbia about 160 kilometers west of Prince George. We are actually almost the geographic center of B.C. As one of the larger purebred Hereford breeders in B.C., we have about 80 registered mother cows. The cows and calves spend summer and fall grazing on pastures. Most of the calves, once weaned, are ‘backgrounded” which means they are fed over the winter on the ranch. Some are raised to sell as beef, some are sold to 4-H members and some of the females join our cow herd or the herds of other ranchers. We also raise some bulls to sell for breeding, so our herd can range from about 140 to 200 animals depending on the time of year.
WHL: How do you care for the animals on your ranch each day?
The Tapps: On a typical winter day, we start by feeding our weaned calves. They have free access to hay from bale feeders, and we supplement that hay with some locally grown barley twice a day. That allows us to check all of the pens in the mornings and afternoons, to see all of the calves and make sure they are healthy. In the afternoons, we feed the cow herd out on pasture. The feeding area gets moved each day. This helps to spread manure evenly across the fields which benefits the growing crops in the spring. During calving time in March and April, cows are checked every four to five hours throughout the day and night to make sure no cow is having problems giving birth and newborns are doing well. In late spring and summer, the herd is dispersed on the land around the ranch and we check them all daily to make sure there are no issues.
WHL: Can you give a specific example of how you protect the environment on your ranch?
The Tapps: Two creeks, Perry and Stern, run through our property, and both creeks run into Fraser Lake. It’s always been really important to us that any water coming off of our land is clean and safe. We have an Environmental Farm Plan, and we have worked with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and our local Nechako stewardship group to help us protect our water. Right now about 90% of the two creeks that run through our ranch are fenced off and the cattle cannot get to those creeks. We have three different solar pumping systems set up so that the cattle receive the benefit of the fresh water from the creek but don’t have access to it. This protects the creek banks from erosion and keeps the water cleaner. And in some areas, we have a hundred feet or so of a buffer zone to the creek that is left as habitat for wild flora and fauna.
WHL: What would you like everyone to know about your commitment to ranching?
The Tapps: We would like everyone to know that caring for animals, protecting the land and being sustainable is extremely important to farmers because if you don’t look after your land and you don’t look after your animals, you don’t make a living and you don’t protect either for the future. We have no children – we have built this ranch basically from scratch and there was nobody to pass it on to. About four years ago, we brought a young family onto the ranch and invited them to be our partners. We work together and eventually they will inherit our ranch. That was part of our sustainability plan because we did not want to see this ranch disappear. It’s important that people understand that farmers and ranchers really care. They really care about the land and they really care about their animals.