Meat producers from around the Boundary region met on March 31 to explore next steps for the regions producers, as the mobile slaughter unit (MSU) is moving forward.
A down payment was made and the unit is expected to arrive in Grand Forks on Monday, Oct. 15. This news made operation of a multi-species MSU in the Boundary a reality.
The entire cost of the MSU is paid for through grants received from Western Economic Diversification Canada, Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust, Provincial Meat Transition Program, Phoenix Foundation and Community Futures.
The 30 farmers and interested folks who attended this meeting agreed on the necessity of infrastructure to be in place for farmers to be profitable.
The infrastructure includes a cut- and-wrap facility, winter docking station, marketing and sales outlet, the development of value-added products like pet food and jerky and a strong marketing plan.
With such infrastructure, farmers should get more money from the animals they slaughter. With the MSU, the inspected meat products can be marketed through restaurants and retail outlets, both locally and out of the region.
This could create a lot of opportunities for our region’s meat producers.
This should lead to building new chicken coops, barns and other infrastructure on farms. It could eventually lead to growing the feed they will need locally as well.
Some possible funding opportunities like grants and loans were presented to the group.
There was a lot of discussion around docking stations and the workings of the MSU.
Some concerns were raised about the ability of local farmers to provide a consistent year -round supply of meat products.
In order to develop a strong marketing plan, accurate production accounting has to be established and year-round production of meat needs to be determined.
Discussion ensued about forming a Boundary Meat Producers Society to concentrate solely on meat production and increasing profits and opportunities for meat producers.
The meat producers left this meeting optimistic about the future of meat production in the Boundary.
The next meeting for the 15 farmers who signed up to move the society forward will be before the end of April.
For more information contact Doug Zorn at 250-442-3359.
–submitted by Patricia Bevilacqua