Meat producers to decide their future
Its time to clear up the uncertainty of the future for meat production in the Boundary region. In the wake of ‘mad cow’ disease scares causing changes in slaughter regulations, small meat producers across the province have been unsure if they have a future. The regulations effectively stopped on farm slaughter for any animals for resale except if processed by a licenced facility, which the Boundary region did not have. This week, Boundary region farmers will be getting together to talk about what their future holds. Organized by the Grand Forks and Boundary Agricultural Society, this critical meeting will set a plan for meat production in the region. Why is this important? Well, society President Doug Zorn, owner of North Fork Pork and Poultry, says that its time to create a plan for the area to use to access funding for infrastructure and to present to the Ministry regulating meat production as a guide to their decisions. “We’ve been working on developing a mobile abattoir for our area,” says Zorn. “As we have gone through the process, regulations seem to keep changing. We hope to give the Ministry of Health Services a plan that gives them clear direction on what we need. I’ve met with MLA John Slater and we are trying to see what can be done in terms of roadblocks we keep running into as we go along. A plan that has input from all the local farmers will give us a strong voice that cannot be ignored.” This plan can also then be used for projects that are identified as priorities for the area and the society can start applying for funding, explains Zorn. Without the plan, the society cannot be sure they are working in the best interests of the local producers. GFBRAS has also just been awarded a temporary class C licence for their abattoir which means they can start legal slaughter soon. In order to have them come to a farm, the producer needs to sign up as a slaughter site. All a producer must have to qualify is proof of potable water, adds Zorn. “According to the Centre for Disease Control we have to have everyone listed on our application before the licence is issued,” says Zorn. “So it’s really important to contact us as soon as possible to get us your information. Even if you can’t come to the meeting, you can sign up for the class C by calling us.”
The ‘Future of Meat Production in the Boundary’ meeting will be hosted at Community Futures Boundary on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 10:00 a.m. For more information contact Doug Zorn at 250-442-3359 or Mona Mattei at 250-443-1899.