Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File Photo)

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File Photo)

RANCH MUSINGS: BC Beef Producers Inc.: regional brand of beef

Recently the first group of cull cows were processed at a facility leased by this new initiative

Today I am directing my column to larger beef producers in our region who might be interested in a new market.

Recently the first group of cull cows were processed at a facility leased by this new initiative in Westwold and will be sold as BC Beef.

Westwold is south of Kamloops and not exactly local but more local than where most of the cull cows go to be butchered and turned into hamburger.

BC Beef Producers Inc. is a producer-owned company which is the result of a government of BC financed initiative. Originally it was thought that Prince George might be a central location and would be able to export beef from B.C. to Canada and the rest of the world.

The feasibility study and the subsequent business plan resulted in a business model that is being tested as we speak.

The market studies show that more than 80 per cent of consumers would consider buying beef product B.C. bred, raised, and processed if they had the chance.

Fifty-five per cent of meat (beef, pork, chicken) is in the form of ground product. Hamburger mostly comes from older cows which don’t need to be fat to be made into burger. Juiciness, which most consumer like, happens in animals which have adequate fat. Feedlots do this.

It is early days but the launch needs support and commitment from some of our medium and larger players in the beef business.

The BC Beef Producers is selling shares in the form of “hooks” which hang an animal after slaughter. $175 buys a shareholder the right to supply one animal a year — 10 hooks, 10 animals.

If your herd has 70 mother cows, you probably retire 10 cows for various reasons. Failing to get pregnant is the most common reason. So you could buy 10 shares and ship the processing plant that many cows.

Once you agree to provide a certain number of cows you have to supply them on the dates agreed to. The price is based on CANFAX records of sales of this kind of (“market”) cow.

Of course, I am just hitting the highlights here. More information can be found by calling the BC Cattlemen’s Association at 250-573-3611 or looking on the internet at bcbeefproducers.com.

I urge producers to consider this market for the cows they are retiring.

A lot of time and effort has gone into investigating whether more B.C. beef could be finished and marketed in B.C. It is the processing — we don’t have enough slaughter facilities in the region — and marketing that gets in the way of “gate to plate” supply chains.

There are other B.C. brands but little in way of marketing infrastructure. Produces wanting to sell directly to consumers are mostly on their own. This new company will do the marketing with the “Genuine BC Beef” brand.

If not enough producers buy into this venture, the “hooks” will be filled with custom processed cattle, that is cattle from non-owners. Commitments may be made to non-owners to process their cattle on a regular basis in order to have enough product processed.

In that case would be owners who need to sell unproductive cows may not have the opportunity to help fill the consumer wish to buy “local.”

Profits will be distributed to purchasers of “hooks,” thus helping the financial viability of ranchers. A lot more money stays in the B.C. rural economy when processing and sales occur here in B.C.

Those interested in this new opportunity have to get on it or lose this potentially rewarding piece of the beef value chain.

COVID and the problems of the massive slaughter plants suggest that if we want food security then we need to support more local processing. Check it out!

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at TRU.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Column

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“These artworks combine the grittiness of our urban and port-side environment with the lightness of a playful and exploratory creative process,” note the artists in their artist statement about the show.	(Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Station House Gallery’s latest exhibit features a port-themed collaboration

Valerie Arntzen and Lori Sokoluk created the pieces when they had adjacent studios in Vancouver

Emergency crews respond to a structural fire on Highway 97 between Williams Lake and Quesnel on Friday, April 16. (Photo submitted)
Update: Famous Cariboo carver Ken Sheen’s wood shop destroyed by fire

The shop was located between Williams Lake and Quesnel

The city of Williams Lake has been doing routine maintenance to one of its wells at Scout Island as seen here earlier this week. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake residents asked to reduce non-essential water use

One of the city’s pumps is under repair

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks games against Leafs postponed as team returns from COVID-19

The team has had 11 games postponed since an outbreak late last month

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Coldstream students took over the Your Letters page in the April 9, 2021, edition of the Vernon Morning Star to offer advice to adults about COVID-19. Interior Health took notice and offered their praise. (Vernon Morning Star)
‘We can get rid of COVID together’: B.C. kids share heartwarming advice

Grade 2 and 3 classes from a North Okanagan elementary took over Letters page of this Black Press newspaper

Most Read