NEWS RELEASE · 2nd June 2010
Ministry of Agriculture
British Columbians in communities across the province are being encouraged to buy local and join in the celebration of the first-ever B.C. Beef Day on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.
"I encourage British Columbians to celebrate B.C. Beef Day in their own way," said Agriculture and Lands Minister Steve Thomson. "It can be as simple as buying Canadian beef from the grocery store or asking local restaurants if they serve B.C. beef. Every purchase supports B.C.'s hardworking, world-class ranchers."
B.C. Beef Day is a celebration of the men and women who work in the industry and who have been breeding and raising some of the finest animals in the world for more than 100 years. Over many decades, ranching gave life to entire communities in rural B.C. Today these cities and towns continue to reflect the values all British Columbians share: hard work, integrity, innovation and optimism.
Ranching is essential to life in many parts of rural B.C. and a large contributor to the provincial economy. The cattle industry in B.C. not only supports entire communities, it provides job for workers in related industries, such as veterinary medicine, equipment sales, food processing and feed production. The beef industry is worth over $250 million annually to B.C.'s economy, and over 4,000 ranches around the province provide employment and income for thousands of British Columbians.
Proclaiming B.C. Beef Day was a recommendation made by the 12-member Ranching Task Force (RTF). At the request of Premier Gordon Campbell, the beef industry and the Province teamed up to identify government and industry actions to help the ranching industry recover from the challenging economic times they have experienced since 2003.
The Province will implement regulatory and policy changes recommended by the RTF that will secure access to forage and water for livestock, secure regional solutions to waste disposal and respond to concerns about the Agriculture Land Reserve.
A provincial investment of $2 million, with the potential to leverage up to $3 million in federal funding, will be used to expand domestic and export markets and facilitate research to ensure B.C.'s cattle industry remains competitive in the expanding world market for beef and beef products. 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.
These changes, together with other government commitments such as introducing the Harmonized Sales Tax, investing in range infrastructure (fencing) and managing invasive plants also respond to industry priorities and will improve the competitive position of the B.C. cattle industry.