Horsefly Cattlemen’s volunteers Ellie Seelhof and Ricky Seelhof help decorate rink two at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex in preparation for this week’s BC Cattlemen’s Association AGM and Convention from May 23-25. (Greg Sabatino photo)

COLUMNS: Beef industry deserves support

Williams Lake will welcome ranchers from all over the province to connect, learn, and advocate

The British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association AGM and Convention has been bringing together B.C.’s best and brightest for 90 years. This year will be no exception.

From May 23-25, Williams Lake will welcome ranchers from all over the province to connect, learn, and advocate.

From intense fire seasons to adverse government policies—it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for family ranches to stay afloat. Events like this one held by the Cattlemen’s Association is an opportunity for industry leaders and stakeholders to collaborate and strategize how best to support these families and community based businesses.

Given the increasing importance of food security and growing consumer consciousness, locally and ethically produced food is in greater demand. In 2017, B.C. marketed over 81,000 tonnes of beef valued at nearly $236 million in farm cash receipts. Without question, our ranchers are the most effective environmental stewards, preserving land for generations to come. Not to mention, the best tasting in the world is produced right here in British Columbia.

READ MORE: Liberal MLA Barnett irate over agricultural land commission act amendments

Heading into the summer months, I encourage all ranchers in this province to register their operations through the B.C. Premises ID program. The program is an innovative way for farmers and ranchers to protect their animals and businesses in case of wildfire, flooding, or other natural disasters. Being registered with the program will expedite the process of evacuating livestock or will grant ranchers re-entry permits to evacuation zones to care for livestock.

Our B.C. beef industry is just as important as ever, and will always be a priority of mine as an elected representative for the province. I look forward to continually advocating for hardworking family ranches across the British Columbia. It is critical that government support and protect this invaluable industry.

READ MORE: Barnett calls on landowners to write agriculture minister over proposed air changes

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

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