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NEWS RELEASE · 28th May 2010
Ministry of Agriculture
The Province is investing $2 million in B.C.'s ranching industry with the potential to leverage up to $3 million in federal funding to develop market opportunities and invest in research, Minister of Agriculture and Lands Steve Thomson announced today.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has participated in the Ranching Task Force, because it has proven to be a successful partnership," said Thomson. "The beef industry is an important economic contributor and is worth over $250 million to B.C.'s economy. Over 4,000 ranches around the province provide jobs and income for thousands of British Columbians. Government's investment in the sector along with policy and regulatory reform will provide a competitive edge for our ranching communities."

Thomson made the announcement at the B.C. Cattlemen's Association annual general meeting. The Province is responding to recommendations made by the Ranching Task Force by addressing regulatory issues, implementing changes that improve access to water and forage for livestock, and responding to concerns around waste disposal, meat regulations and the Agriculture Land Reserve.

"This new funding is appreciated and comes at a critical time for the industry," said Roland Baumann, president of the B.C. Cattlemen's Association. "The Ranching Task Force has been an effective tool for ranchers as it has helped raise the profile of ranching among government and given us the opportunity to begin critical conversations with several ministries that have an impact on our industry."

The $2 million in new funding will help the cattle industry strategically invest in market development opportunities both domestically and internationally. An investment in research will support our industry to develop markets based on B.C. attributes and ensure our sector remains competitive globally. The ministry will also continue the $9.347 million Beef Cattle Industry Development Fund that was due to terminate in 2014. The ministry will extend this fund in perpetuity.

"Our ranching industry has shown its resilience and fierce independence through a worldwide recession, a BSE scare and the impact of a stronger Canadian dollar," said Terry Lake, MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson and parliamentary secretary to the Ranching Task Force. "We owe a special thanks to the task force members for giving us a clear strategy for building a stronger ranching industry."

The Ranching Task Force was announced in May 2009 to identify key issues and opportunities facing the ranching industry in B.C., and to make recommendations to ensure a strong, vibrant and sustainable industry for future generations. The task force was co chaired by Lake and Baumann.