Spring has hardly sprung but fall is fast approaching for livestock producers.
An announcement last week from Johnston’s Custom Cutting in Chilliwack urged producers who hadn’t already done so to book slaughter dates with the facility.
“The slots are already getting limited from July to December 2019,” a memo to producers said, noting that dates for all types of bookings are filling up fast.
It’s a similar situation at Scott’s Meats in Agassiz, where dates for beef have become “very limited.”
The information underscores the challenges meat producers across the province face.
Boosting processing capacity is one of the goals of the provincial government, but no concrete steps have yet been taken to make it easier to license and start plants.
During the recent annual meeting of the BC Association of Farmers Markets, several market vendors spoke about the demand in rural and remote areas for meat. But the lack of capacity at existing plants coupled with long travel times makes meat tough to source. A lack of cold storage capacity adds to challenges facing producers.
Similar issues were also discussed during the on-farm slaughter workshop at the Certified Organic Associations of BC conference last month.
While some producers may have enough volume to warrant a Class D abattoir licence, Tristan Banwell of Spray Creek Ranch noted that it caps growth (no more than 25 animals) and limits market area.