Challenging times for B.C. ranchers

By Jessica Lepp
October 7, 2015 - 4:24pm

➤ 2015 is proving to be a challenging year for B.C. cattle ranchers. Drought conditions in Canada's western provinces are causing a surge in the cost of hay in British Columbia. And predators are dwindling herd. But the potential of the Trans Pacific Partnership may be a silver lining in an otherwise gloomy time for the industry.

As cattle begin to come off the range ranchers are starting to feel the pinch. Dryer than usual conditions this Summer in Alberta and Saskatchewan have resulted in a hay shortage. And that's driven up the cost of feed by 60-80% in western Canada. This has left ranchers with two options; reduce their herds or bite the bullet and pay the extra cost.

Also of concern for ranchers is predator losses. On average ranchers see a 2% herd loss to wolves but already some ranchers are experiencing a 15% loss. 

But there is a silver lining in the midst of the struggles. Canada's new membership in the Trans Pacific Partnership a 12 country trading block will drop tariffs by 11% and then over the next 15 years it will gradually decline to 9%. As it stands Canada ships about 100-million dollars worth of beef into japan every year but at a 38.5% tariff. So while Boon sympathizes with those opposed to the deal like dairy farmers he says the benefits outweigh the negatives.

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