Province announces funding to help develop beef packing plant in Prince George

Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture makes the announcement in Smithers - Twitter

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The Province of B.C. has announced up to $450,000 to help fund the planning and development of a beef packing plant in Prince George.

If the Prince George plant becomes fully operational, the North would gain an estimated 80 full-time in the plant by 2020, and an additional 620 spin-off jobs.

“I am excited to support the amazing people who work in our ranching sector in the North and throughout the province,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “This project has the potential to ensure B.C. cattle are bred, raised and finished in our province, providing retailers, suppliers, restaurants and consumers with great quality B.C. beef. This can provide an economic boost to rural B.C. and give consumers what they want.”

The next step for the proposed meatpacking plant is to develop the partnerships to organize and build the plant. The funding will be used to develop an industry-led co-operative business model, to support B.C. ranchers, and determine what role they could have in the plant’s ownership and operation.

“As beef producers, we know that keeping cattle close to home provides the best opportunity. Having a packing plant here in the province would allow us to market our beef as B.C. beef – something we know consumers want,” said Kevin Boon, general manager, BC Cattlemen’s Association. “We recognize that there will be other considerations before we start building this facility. We need to look at establishing a finishing process, and increased feeding capacity. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this is an exciting first step in realizing that vision.”

In 2016, B.C. beef producers brought nearly 174,000 cattle and calves to market, amounting to almost 81,500 tonnes and generating close to $219 million in farm cash receipts. The B.C. cattle industry is primarily cow-calf operations and located mostly in the Thompson-Okanagan, Cariboo, Nechako and Peace River regions.