Joint government funding announced Friday for the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association will go towards a business plan for a a federally inspected beef processing plant in Prince George, seen as a key development in boosting B.C. beef exports.
The Kamloops-based association will receive up to $144,000 of federal and provincial government funding to identify supply-chain and investment partners, and develop business models for the ownership and operation of the plant.
The BCCA will also contribute up to $16,000 for the development of the plan, which will incorporate a marketing and sales strategy, defined production and operation requirements, as well as financial, human resource and contingency plans.
If it were to proceed, the plant would significantly boost the capacity to export B.C. beef directly to foreign markets. Currently, B.C. cattle are most often processed at federally licensed plants in Alberta or the U.S. when the beef is going to be sold to other provinces or countries.
The business plan will support earlier BCCA research that predicted a federally inspected plant would potentially generate significant economic benefits for B.C.’s cattle sector and the Prince George area, including, within three years of operation, potential for:
- An additional $250 million in annual beef and byproduct sales.
- An increase in value-added exports of up to $180 million.
- Up to 180 new full-time-equivalent jobs within the plant and about 620 spinoff jobs.
The plant could increase local food supply security and help supply beef to British Columbian families, as well as be exported to markets in Europe and Asia.
The funding is provided under Growing Forward 2, a five-year agreement which launched in 2013, that provides a $3-billion, federal-provincial-territorial government investment in innovation, competitiveness and market development.