Welcome to SpiritView Ranching located in the heart of the Peace region in Northwest Alberta. Our ranch is located in between three rivers, of which the Spirit River borders the vast majority of our land. This view of the river and its contrasting landscapes of rolling pasture lands and Aspen / Boreal forest has inspired the name of our Ranch. In fact our own spirit of adventure and forward thinking could also be why we believe so much in this identity. Not only is the landscape contrasting but so too is the environment that we deal with. From long summer days that can reach over +30 Celsius to cold long winter nights that have hit below -50 Celcius. The region is also well known for great diversity in agriculture. Besides beef production it produces alfalfa for export, honey, traditional grain crops (wheat, oats, barley, peas and canola) as well as largest amounts of grass seed.
Our roots however did not start in the Peace but rather an ocean and another continent away. Erika and I were both born in Switzerland. Even though we shared the same birth country, it was not till 28 years later that we met in Central America. I immigrated to Canada with my parents (Ivo and Irma Weder) at the age of 4 and grew up east of Camrose, Alberta, on a dairy and beef operation. I went to high school in Camrose and then to the University of Alberta where I graduated in 1993 with a B.Sc. in Agriculture. I started my masters in 1994 at Oregon State University in animal science and range management and graduated there in 1996. Upon my return from Oregon, I bought some land neighboring my parents place and started to build my own cow herd. During the next 9 years I also worked fulltime as a cow calf specialist for Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development. However, I always liked to enjoy a break from the winter blues and so took as many opportunities as time would allow to disappear to somewhere warmer. Many of these trips were to South America touring agriculture in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia. In 1999 I decided that Central America and more specifically, Belize and Guatemala were calling me. I also thought it would be a great place to remember the change into the new millennium. I will never forget it because on Christmas day morning 1999 I met my future wife Erika Bueschi.
Erika too was the adventurous type and at that time was backpacking from the Yucatan peninsula down through Belize across Guatemala and north through Chiapas, Mexico. We both realized very quickly that we had found each other and after 8 months of countless emails, letters, and air miles we were engaged. After another 13 months of more emails, letters and air miles we were married and then finally 4 months after our marriage in Switzerland Erika immigrated to Canada on December 19th, 2001. There are many reasons Erika and I clicked...... not to mention that we both were born in Switzerland, spoke Swiss and grew up on a small dairy farm. We both enjoy the outdoors, adventure and doing crazy things. That all said, we are also quite opposite of each other on certain things and so we compliment each other as a really good team - we call it "Team Weder - Bueschi". Erika's previous life prior to peace country rancher was post mistress for the Swiss Post. She looked after 15 rural post offices, which entailed everything from finance, to accounting to mail delivery. In Switzerland the post office is not just for mail but a place to pay your bills, even set up your savings account and a place to get your insurance needs. Needless to say, Erika is now the chief financial officer for SpiritView Ranching.
In December 2001 Erika and I finally settled in Camrose as husband and wife. By this time we had bought some more land and had our own farm site. I was now working in the Camrose Alberta Agriculture office. Then the drought of 2002 hit Western Canada and all perspectives that I had known changed. Land prices continued to climb, while at the same time it was limited in terms of how much grass it could produce. To make matters worse the drought was even affecting well managed grass and so we were forced to send cattle into the Peace country region rather than dumping them on the market and risk heavier financial loss. Alberta Agriculture also had just gone through restructuring and I was offered an opportunity to work as a beef specialist in the Peace region. I had always known that the Peace region was a land of huge opportunity for someone that was adventurous and willing to try new things. So in June of 2002, Erika and I headed north on a discovery and fact finding mission. Little did we know that we would fall in love with the region and that, combined with taking the road less taken, we found a place that was perfectly suited for our needs. We then returned to Camrose, sold our place and land there and moved our cows north in October. We went on our honeymoon to fulfill one of our dreams by backpacking through South America and Southern Africa for 6 months while, we waited to take possession of our new place in May of 2003. We came home from our trip in April. Energized, excited and more determined than ever that, "if you have a goal, through hard work and willpower you can see it through". We moved on to the ranch on May 1st, started fencing, cleaning the yard, calving cows and juggling a full time job. We hit the ground running and haven't looked back.
"Now that we have three young boys and a girl in the mix - Pasco Ivo (August 10, 2004), Nero Alejandro (December 19, 2005), Oro Romeo (May 19, 2008) and Luna Elisa (May 22, 2010) the pleasure has been raised another notch. The ride has just begun for us as a family and we look forward to the future adventures that Spirit View Ranching will bring us. The Story goes on..."