New livestock program to support family ranchers, rural economies

Farms in B.C. are getting help to meet upcoming national livestock traceability requirements

VICTORIA – Small ranches and livestock farms in B.C. are getting help to meet upcoming national livestock traceability requirements that will help tracklivestock movements in the event of an animal health investigation, and also offer the opportunity for ranchers to reach new customers who focus on the awareness and promotion of where they source their food.

The governments of Canada and British Columbia have partnered to fund the Livestock Tag Reader Rebate Program to help small ranchers trace anddocument the movement of their animals throughout the food chain.

The program will cover 70% of the costs of equipment, up to $3,500, that beef, pork, sheep, goat and venison producers will need to adhere to federal traceability protocols.

Up to $100,000 of program funding will be available to small producers in 2017-18.

Eligible equipment includes verified readers for radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, which are applied to an animal’s ear, as well as the installation of related software and training for hand-held or panel readers.

The traceability process provides verified tracking of individual animals from the ranch to the abattoir, which offers interested retail operators the opportunityto promote exactly where their meat has come from.

Program applicants must be B.C. livestock producers that are registered in the BC Premises Identification Program.

The program targets livestock operations that have generated less than $30,000 in annual farm receipts for each of the previous two years, to help small livestock producers comply with anticipated federal government traceability regulations.

Operators of larger ranches and livestock operations can access funding to implement traceability systems, including support for tag-reader purchasethrough the ministry’s On-Farm Food Safety and Traceability Program.