When I see the complexity of our geography, how segregated we are by valleys and mountains, how we can be isolated by water and the shear ruggedness of our terrain, it’s not surprising that creating a workable agricultural policy is a difficult task. With the closure of the US border after a BSE scare to Canadian beef—which cost the industry millions—the provincial government introduced new Meat Inspection Regulations in 2004. When these regulations where introduced there were only 13 licensed facilities in the entire province. Compliance with the regulations has been challenging for all levels of agriculture—from the small family farm to the large producers in the interior.
A big part of the problem is our complex geography. “In BC it’s hard to get from point A to point B but also to have an abattoir every 150 kilometres or so is not economically feasible. Those distances have become very challenging for producers, especially when you get into some of the more remote areas,” explains Kevin Boon of the BC Cattlemen’s Association. “Some of these guys have 10 to 15 head were typically selling locally and just weren’t able to get to licensed facilities. It’s put them in a much more difficult position. Upgrading facilities was a tough call. There are some that just couldn’t pencil it in. And those that stuck their neck out are having a very, very tough time making a go of it now.”
Read more in this edition of FarmFolk CityFolk Magazine.