Doug and Cheryl Livingstone and family have been producing
grain and purebred Hereford cattle on their Vermillion, Alberta area farm for
many years. But, as Doug recently noted, speaking to the Canadian Farm Writers
Federation conference in Edmonton, “food doesn’t gain any real value until
after it leaves the farm gate.”
So the Livingstones have recently embarked on a
venture that makes use of the natural advantages found on their 2,200 acre Val
Terra Ranch. They’ve gone into the hospitality industry.
The farming family has recently opened Red Feather
Ridge Lodge. Built on a hill overlooking a natural pond and wooded area on the
farm, the Red Feather Lodge is a banquet and meeting facility that can handle
both small and medium-sized gatherings, with banquet facilities for up to 160
people. Next year they plan to have three cabins ready for overnight
accommodations for up to 12 people.
Cherly Livingstone has long been in the catering
business, and son Robert is a trained chef who worked in the restaurant
industry in Calgary for a number of years.
Since it was becoming more difficult to pencil out a
profit selling beef cattle, the Livingstones looked at other business options
that could make use of their ranch as well as their skills.
Red Feather Ridge, which just opened in recent weeks,
can hosts groups ranging in size from six to 160. The lodge is ideal for any
business or association looking for a place to hold a day long seminar or staff
meeting, or families looking for a location for a reunion, birthday party or
With Doug and Cheryl and Robert and his wife Audra
actively involved in the Red Feather Ridge, they plan to scale back on both
beef and crop production. “We looked at our options and we can’t do it all,”
says Doug. “Likely the grain and some of the cattle will go and will put our
efforts into the new venture.”
A website for Red Feather Ridge is in the works, but
not yet operating. In the meantime for more information contact the
Livingstones at (780) 763-2385 or email: [email protected] .
(Accompanying photos are courtesy of Lori Henry, a
travel writer based in Edmonton).
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