The B.C. Packing Plant steering committee held several engagement sessions for producers around the province in November.
Right now most of B.C.’s cattle are sent to Alberta for finishing and processing, which limits the beef industry’s ability to sell B.C.-branded beef. The B.C. Beef Packing Plant website notes that a 2012 research report identified a federally inspected plant within B.C. as necessary for such a program.
Several beef producers, along with representatives from the meat packing and pork industries, have struck a steering committee to look at constructing a federally inspected packing plant in B.C., with an initial capacity of 500 head per week. They have also completed a viability study and developed a business plan.
During the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association AGM in June 2018, B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture committed up to $450,000 for the project. That funding is to be used to create an industry-led co-operative business model for the plant, according to a B.C. government press release.
Since that announcement, the steering committee has been solidifying the business plan, developing comprehensive financial information and looking into a B.C. beef producer co-operative structure, notes a B.C. Beef Packing Plant release. The committee has also been gathering feedback from producers.
“While the focus of this project is the packing plant, the key to getting it built and running it successfully will be to address cattle supply,” said Kevin Boon, general manager of B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, in a release.
“The committee needs to hear from producers as to whether there is a willingness to develop the supply chain needed to make that happen. The entire industry from beef and grain producers to feedlot operators need to be involved in this because it’s the entire industry that stands to benefit from this plan — a plan that was built in B.C. for B.C.”
For more information on the project, visit bcbeefpackingplant.ca.