Richardson Ranch, home to seven generations of family, celebrated its 100 year anniversary on Sunday, June 16.
The ranch has seen a lot of change over the course of the century – from being a source for locally produced beef for the residents of Haida Gwaii, to including a veterinary clinic, an agricultural supply centre, and a ranch for bulls.
“We are not isolated, we are just geographically challenged,” said Don Richardson, part of the fifth generation at the ranch. “Although a veterinary hospital, along with a farm feed and pet store are major diversifications, the core that binds us all together is still the ranch.”
The Richardsons sold fresh beef on Haida Gwaii – from processing the beef, to wrapping each cut, and taking the family’s truck, lined with cotton sheets, down to the dock with beef ready for sale.
It has not always been glorious days for the ranch through the course of its history. In 2017, explosions and fire torched a workshop, warehouse, and part of the boarding kennels, after the twisted top of an oxygen tank caught fire and blew apart the workshop. Despite the fire, the Richardson family quickly rebult within a year and they continue their work and growth.
The family’s Tlell Polled Hereford herd continues to win awards and the ranch has become a popular spot for tourists in Haida Gwaii, with two cabins named Grandpa’s Guest House and River View Guest House.
Richardson Ranch was established in 1919, when Eric Richardson travelled to Tlell River meadows to purchase property, finding an abundance of coho salmon swimming through the Tlell River. He then began to establish his new home on the coast of B.C.
A decade later, his son Francis Richardson married and had three boys whom he raised on the ranch. Eric Richardon’s eldest grandson, Doug, brought back the ranch’s first horned Hereford bull in 1951 from Guichon ranch, located just outside of Merritt. This marked the beginning of the Richardson’s famous Tlell Hereford herd.
The Richardsons have been selling their bulls at the Vanderhoof Bull Sale since 1986, and the Williams Lake bull sale since 2000. They also sell Hereford genetics online for customers around the world.
Doug Richardson and his wife, Alice Richardson, built the first two fishing cabins on the ranch. Alice Richardson also implemented boarding kennels and grooming services and years later, in 1980, her son Don Richardson would implement the veterinary hospital and pet store with his wife, Leslie Richardson.
Dane Richardson and Jamie Richardson represent the sixth generation to have lived at the ranch. Dane Richardson graduated from veterinary school in 2013 and purchased the animal hospital on the ranch shortly after. Jamie Richardson focused her education at college on beef management. She has two children with her husband Bill, representing the seventh generation to date. She and her family are currently managing a large registered Hereford ranch in B.C.’s Interior.
The ranch has received recognition from Century Farm Awards — created in 1994 to mark the centennial of the Ministry of Agriculture — which honours agricultural organizations that have been active for 100 years in B.C.
“Ranching is entrenched in the history of B.C.,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Century Farm awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate that history and the ranchers who have been providing so much to their communities, and communities across the province.”