TESA 2019 Recipient
B.C.'s Clifton Ranch is the recipient of the 2019 The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA). Clifton Ranch is owned and operated by Wade and Sandra Clifton and Brad and Dianne Clifton.
Clifton Ranch is in B.C.’s Similkameen Valley, where a hot, dry and sunny climate creates challenges for beef producers. Steep terrain and lack of water sources require additional innovative management, and particularly so given the Clifton family’s long-term goal to make the environment “better.”
Clifton Ranch runs 500 cow-calf pairs and has 50-70 bulls on test. The cattle are grazed on about 60,000 acres of owned, leased and crown grazing lands. The ranch has a calving ground, feedlot, riparian areas and irrigated hay land.
Rotational pasture grazing is managed with the use of multiple float troughs and range fencing, and thousands of feet of pipe. Existing water is successfully managed with a creative series of about 100 water troughs. Feed production is maximized by growing forage varieties suited to the Keremeos climate with the help of irrigation. Hay is cut three times per year, allowing for the removal of the forage crop and resumption of irrigation and plant growth which, in turn, minimizes drought stress and maximizes growing potential.
Wade Clifton grew up understanding the benefits of environmental stewardship, and today continues to share that knowledge. Recipient of the B.C. Cattlemen's Association 2019 Ranch Sustainability Award, Clifton shares their range grazing best practices with fellow ranchers and government staff. Education is ongoing with the public and non-ranching community about the importance of range health and protection of biodiversity and habitat.
Clifton Ranch, in partnership with Nature Trust of British Columbia, was key in the establishment of the White Lake Basin Biodiversity Ranch. The aim of the program was to showcase species at risk management by conserving and restoring natural grassland and associated ecosystems. This led to another project to fence a stretch of Keremeos Creek and the development of alternate cattle watering facilities to protect sensitive spawning habitat for Rainbow and Brook trout and enabling recovery of habitat for yellow-breasted chat, a songbird.
Duane Thompson, chair of the CCA Environment Committee, said the TESA judges recognize all the nominees as exceptional stewards of the lands they manage. What set Clifton Ranch apart for the judges was their work with the Nature Trust to restore and preserve the grasslands and ecosystems of the ranch, conserve species at risk habitat and preserve spawning grounds and habitat for songbirds – all the while using innovation and creativity to raise beef in a challenging natural landscape.
“The practices in use at Clifton Ranch embody the very essence of environmental stewardship,” Thompson said. “The Clifton family uses ingenuity to provide healthy range and a watering system for their cattle while being conscientious of the need to protect water sources and habitat for the multitude of species that co-exist with cattle on their land.”
Thompson and Stuart Person, Senior Vice President of Agriculture with MNP, TESA’s Platinum sponsor, presented the Clifton family with the 2019 TESA on August 14 at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference in Calgary, AB.
In accepting the 2019 TESA, Clifton said his family feels “very fortunate to receive this award.” Like most in the industry, he said, “when you are working hard you keep your head down, and we’re probably one of those that never look up at what we’re really doing, we’re just doing our everyday thing. And as time goes on, the way our industry is going, I think we need to look up and talk to some people and try to spread the word” about the positive impacts of cattle production to the land and the ecosystems, habitat and biodiversity that coexist with livestock.
Clifton also acknowledged the contributions of his brother, Brad, who passed in February, to ensuring the ranch made its sustainability vision. It is thanks to his efforts, in part, that the Clifton family is recognized with the national TESA, he noted.
The CCA thanks Norine Ambrose with Cows and Fish and Karli Reimer with Ducks Unlimited Canada for joining the TESA judging panel.
CCA Environment Committee Chair Duane Thompson and Stuart Person, Senior Vice President
of Agriculture with MNP, TESA’s Platinum sponsor, presented the Clifton family with the 2019 TESA.
Thank you to our Platinum Sponsor MNP for sponsoring the TESA program.
The CCA’s national annual award, TESA has recognized the outstanding stewardship efforts of Canadian beef producers since 1996. For more information, click here.