“It’s a poor day that I don’t learn anything” (Andy McDonald).
Herbert Anderson (Andy) McDonald is an upbeat man. Andy always has a smile on his face and a kind word for all he runs across.
Andy’s family came to the Tobacco Plains Valley, near the village of Grasmere, British Columbia, in 1910. They started the ranch that is now known as McDonald Ranch and Lumber. Andy was born on April 27, 1930. He has lived in the valley all his life, attending school at the closest location, next door in the State of Montana (ever wonder how Andy came up with his Montana USA accent?).
Andy’s main focus has been with the cattle ranch part of the business. Andy’s outgoing nature, his interest in other people, and his appetite for new experiences and learning new things was evident in the 1950’s when as a young man he was instrumental in developing a solution to a vibriosis outbreak. These were the days before the advent of frozen semen. Andy convinced his fellow ranchers to undertake a three-year program using artificial insemination with fresh semen to eventually break this venereal disease cycle.
In 1971, Andy and several other East Kootenay ranchers established a livestock organization for the region. This organization has brought millions of dollars of government programing to the region and today supports a full time office in Cranbrook. It remains the primary organization representing agriculture in the region.
Andy heard about the Society for Range Management in the mid 1970’s. Bill Anderson was working British Columbia at the time, helping set up Coordinated Resource Management Planning (CRMP) in British Columbia. Andy liked what Bill was talking about and welcomed the idea of a coordinated, cooperative way of planning and resolving issues. Being a skilled communication, Andy was eager to learn the process and adopt it to British Columbia. This is what started Andy in his decades long involvement with SRM.
Andy says that the greatest thing about SRM is that it is an accepting organization; accepting of people and ideas. The ability to meet with people having similar interests and being accepted as a peer means a lot to Andy.
“Every day is beautiful. You can’t change it, so make the best of it,” Andy will frequently muse. This is one of the philosophies by which Andy lives his life and which has helped him thrive as a human being. He has much to teach all of us!