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B.C. farmers want a meeting with ag minister

B.C. farmers want a meeting with ag minister

Producers want to discuss changes to licensing regulations on livestock processing

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A group representing rural British Columbia communities has extended an invitation to Agriculture Minister Lana Popham for a face-to-face meeting.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) wants to discuss potential changes to current regulations regarding on-farm animal processing and access to Class E licenses.

A Class E license allows for the on-farm processing of up to 10 “animal units” per year. One animal unit is equal to 1,000lbs.

Current policy dictates that farmers won’t receive Class E licenses if there’s a “licensed (processing) establishment within two hours travel time of the farm.”

So, farmers in the Golden, B.C. area must transport animals to a facility in Invermere about 90 minutes away.

“This limits the ability of farmers in the Golden area to (process) their own meat,” Karen Cathcart, director of Electoral Area A (Towns of Golden and Field, and the unincorporated communities of Parson, Nicholdon, Donald and Blaeberry) with the CSRD, said in a statement. “If farmers in Golden were able to apply for and receive a Class E license, they would still be held to industry health and safety standards to ensure the meat was being processed properly.”

The CSRD is still waiting for the minister’s office to respond.

“We sent the letter about three weeks ago and are still waiting to hear back,” Tracy Hughes, communications coordinator with the CSRD, told Farms.com. “I think we might still be a few weeks away from hearing anything, but you never know.”

Farms.com has reached out to Minister Popham’s office and to area farmers for comment.

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