In 1971, two brothers, Ed and Al Redl; businessmen from Coquitlam, bought a piece of "dirt" in the Cariboo: what was the humble beginnings of Redl Ranch. There was much work to be done. Fences were down, corrals in disrepair, hayfields requiring re-seeding, and buildings in need of renovation. There certainly was no shortage of work: substantial inputs of capital, sweat, and passion were required to make the venture successful. Also, there were no cattle or crown grazing permits (summer range). The start of the herd was a group of 32 bred heifers: just the right number to be over-wintered based on that summer's hay production of about 88 tons. In those early years, this was the extent of the combined efforts of the haying crew. About the same time, ownership changed to Ed and his wife, Trudy with sons Barrie and Tom. Over the years, the ranch haylands have been improved and expanded with the aquisition of agricultural leases; a government program designed to encourage the development of more croplands in the ranching industry. Another important factor in the ranch's growth was the aquisition of crown grazing permits which provided much needed summer pasture for our herds. With these key aquisitions along with the introduction of irrigation to our haylands, we have seen a 10 fold increase in productivity since our meager beginnings of the early '70s.
The 1980s was a period of time when we branched out from cattle and became involved in the Woodlot Licence program. This was an opportunity to combine a select area of crown forest land with a portion of our private land under strict management protocols emphasizing sustainability, ecologically-sensitive harvesting, integrated resource management (promoting a healthy, vibrant, land base for all inhabitants/users), and local community involvement (assisting in employment, recreational, & educational opportunities). The result; Woodlot Licence 545 was awarded to us and has been an integral part of our ranch operation ever since, providing financial support to the cattle side while giving us an opportunity to become an active participant in ecologically-sustainable forestry in BC.
That brings us to today. Although our cattle operation has grown considerably from those early days, we still feel the passion when working with the animals, the land, the crops, and people: that craving to dig in the dirt, plant a seed, comfort a new-born calf, irrigate a thirsty crop, bale some hay, and hang out with neighbours and friends. That passion is in our blood, it keeps us going: that same passion felt by those two brothers from Coquitlam and their purchase of Cariboo "dirt".