The Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce’s persistence has paid off as the B.C. government has introduced meat licensing changes and increased access for local products. (B.C. government photo)

The Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce’s persistence has paid off as the B.C. government has introduced meat licensing changes and increased access for local products. (B.C. government photo)

Armstrong Spallumcheen chamber’s persistence over meat licensing pays off

Chamber joins provincial body in applauding changes to meat licensing and increased access to local products

It was a recipe that sat stewing on the stovetop for years.

The Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce is joining the provincial chamber body in applauding meat licensing changes and increased access to local products.

“It’s a win for our chamber,” said Armstrong Spallumcheen chamber executive director Patti Noonan. “Our policy committee brought this forward to the B.C. Chamber and has been hammering away at this for a number of years.”

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries announced in July a series of changes that will make significant improvements for local operators who focus on the production and processing of livestock raised in their communities.

Of the changes announced by the ministry, the transition of region-specific licences D and E to the provincewide “Farmgate Plus” licence and the adoption of a risk-based approach to inspection were the focal points of the policy recommendations the B.C. Chamber of Commerce made to the government in 2018.

Under the previous licensing system, producers holding licences D and E were constrained to selling within their region only. In some regions, the licences were not available and caused several operators to downsize their operations or close completely.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and these improvements will increase flexibility and offer opportunities for local businesses to meet customer demand and to grow, while still maintaining the high standards that British Columbians expect,” said Fiona Famulak, president and CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.

Andrew Laird, past president of the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce, said the local chamber has long advocated for a practical meat licensing system, one that supports farms, reduces environmental impacts and contributes to healthier communities.

“With these changes, we can finally bring home the bacon and get access to local markets that our small-scale producers need to succeed,” said Laird.

Added Steve Meggait of Spallumcheen’s Fresh Valley Farms: “We are happy to see changes that reduce the bottlenecks in the slaughter industry and create opportunities for local butchers and the meat cut and wrap businesses.”

READ MORE: B.C. issuing new farmgate licences to allow meat sales this fall

READ MORE: Armstrong-Spallumcheen chamber rolls out recovery plan



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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