PG Eyed as Beef Processing and Export Centre
Prince George, B.C. – A new federally inspected beef processing plant is in the works for Prince George.
The provincial and governments announced today they will be contributing $144,000 in funding to the BC Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA) to develop a business plan to determine the viability of such an endeavour.
According to the federal government, the study will “identify supply-chain and investment partners, and develop business models for the ownership and operation of the plant.”
The BCCA will also contribute $16,000 towards the plan which it says “will incorporate a marketing and sales strategy, defined production and operations requirements, as well as financial, human resource and contingency plans.”
The plan will support previous BCCA research which predicted a federally inspected plant could provide a quarter of a billion dollars in annual beef and by-product sales and up to 800 jobs.
“It (Prince George) is an untapped market for B.C.,” says Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris. “I can’t see the point in shipping our beef to Alberta or to the United States to be processed when we’ve got the capability of doing it here.”
Kevin Boon, general manager of the BCCA, agrees.
“This is where Prince George really shines because we have a lot of grain and forage production in the Nechako/Vanderhoof area. We also have a lot of grain produced in the Peace that’s close enough. Our previous studies have shown that within a 700 km radius it’s more economical to bring a plant to Prince George than it is to try and get cattle to Alberta for processing.”
Both governments say the plant could increase local food supply security and also capitalize on Prince George’s potential as an export centre.
“It’s a hub for transportation. We can go east, west, north and south. And that is key in anything for distribution.” says Boon.
Morris adds there’s also the chance to export by air. “There’s the opportunity to ship the higher end products right away, fresh to wherever the market demands. I think we’ll see that.
Once the business plan is complete, he hopes government will be making another announcement “within a year.”
“Once we analyze all the different elements of it. And I know there’s people willing to build a plant already. So we just have to make sure we get all the other pieces put together.”