New meat licensing system supports farming families and provincewide food security, says NDP MLA Doug Routley

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COWICHAN VALLEY – New Democrat MLA Doug Routley says new meat licensing system will make it easier for B.C. families to buy, serve, and enjoy locally raised beef, pork, and poultry. Farmers in rural parts of B.C. will benefit under this new meat licensing system that increases opportunities for them to sell meat products in their home communities and in turn, supports local economies and regional food security.

“For people across our region, this new licensing system will increase opportunities to enjoy meat that was raised right here in Cowichan,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “The changes also support small farmers or those entering farming in building a strong foundation for their business by selling at local markets.”

The new licensing system reflects the diversity in size of B.C. meat processing and livestock businesses. The three new license categories include:

  • A farmgate license that allows farmers to sell from their farmgate or at farmers markets within their regional district and at farmers markets within a 50 kilometre radius of their farm if they border a different regional district;
  • A farmgate plus license that replaces current Class D and E licenses. It is available provincewide and helps alleviate ranchers’ and producers’ concerns about accessing processing services, as well as provide new sales opportunities at farmers markets, retail shops and restaurants;
  • An abattoir license that replaces current Class A and B licenses. It is synchronized with existing business and license procedures and will continue to offer fully inspected meat production with no restriction on volume or sales within B.C.

The new licence framework follows in-depth consultation with ranchers, abattoir operators, local governments and meat producer organizations, including the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, BC Association of Abattoirs, BC Cattlemen’s Association, First Nations Agricultural Association of BC, and Small-Scale Meat Producers Association.

All licences will be valid for a five-year term and will be effective Oct. 1, 2021, with existing licensees transitioning automatically.

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