Two loan-guarantee programs for the cattle industry have been beefed up.
The B.C government will increase the maximum guarantee limit to $15 million for the programs, Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes announced Friday, Aug. 5, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick.
The loan guarantees have been so successful that several regional co-operative associations have reached their current maximum loan limits. The increase, from $9.75 million, will allow industry to finance additional cattle purchases to build inventories with the goal of benefiting from the current strong North America cattle prices.
The Bred Heifer Association Loan Guarantee and Feeder Association Loan Guarantee programs support 12 regional producer-owned co-operative associations located throughout B.C. Now in its 26th year, the program strengthens the B.C. livestock sector by helping the local associations negotiate favourable loans for the purchase of feeder and breeder cattle on behalf of their members.
The B.C. ranching sector provides safe, high-quality beef and is a major contributor to the province’s economy and food supply security. In 2014, B.C. beef producers marketed more than 191,000 cattle and calves amounting to over 91,000 metric tonnes, an increase of about five percent over the previous year.
The Thompson-Okanagan, Cariboo, Peace River and Nechako regions are the top beef producing regions in the province. While building a sustainable beef industry, the sector is also recognized for best practices in animal welfare.
“Our regional co-ops are member owned and operated bringing a successful beef cattle finance program to all areas of B.C. under the government loan guarantee program, said Ken Fawcett, president of the B.C. Breeder and Feeder Association. “With the increase we can now continue with the forming of a new co-op on Vancouver Island to finance feeder and bred cattle to enhance the island beef industry.”