Small scale meat producers in B.C have been struggling to make ends meet for some time. So, they decided to band together to hopefully have their voice heard on the issues impacting them.
Julia Smith from Blue Sky Ranch spoke to Q101 about how changes made back in 2007 are still hurting the industry.
“In 2007 we lost most of our small abattoirs in this province and we also lost the ability to kill animals on the farm,” said Smith. “We lost all that when the new meat regulations came in and so it was kind of a double whammy.”
It is possible for limited on-farm slaughter through two different licenses, however as Smith explains small scale producers are caught in the middle.
“The class-E is available all over the province, you can apply for a class-E if you’re more than an hour away from an abattoir. But the limits are tiny, it’s for a backyard producer, it’s not on a commercial scale,” said Smith.
“Then you have this second category of producer, like us, where we’re trying to make a go of this as a commercial business. We’re hamstrung here because we can’t operate with a class-E, but we can't get reliable dates at the abattoirs either. So, it’s limited our ability to scale our businesses to where they’re profitable,” added Smith.
The other option would be class-D, which is only available in 10 regional districts and it restricts their sale to only within the regional district they operate.
For Smith, it’s the eleventh hour.
“We are facing that decision right now, I’m not willing to stay in the business and continue to lose money year after year. You should be able to have a farm and produce a quality product and make a living,” concluded Smith.
Their goal is to have the class-D expanded to more regional districts and to have the restriction of only selling within your own district removed.
On Twitter: @Q101Merritt