Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman, who operates a small specialty poultry farm, welcomed new B.C. regulations, announced Tuesday, that allow small beef, pork, and poultry producers to process and sell directly. (file)

Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman, who operates a small specialty poultry farm, welcomed new B.C. regulations, announced Tuesday, that allow small beef, pork, and poultry producers to process and sell directly. (file)

New licensing for small beef, pork, and poultry producers hailed by Langley East MLA

Megan Dykeman, former Langley Farmers’ Institute chair, calls the changes ‘fantastic’

Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman, a campaigner for changes to meat production regulations, has hailed a new provincial licensing system as something that will make it easier to buy, serve, and enjoy locally raised beef, pork, and poultry.

Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries, announced the new system Tuesday, promising it “will increase food production, support regional food security, stimulate local economies and prioritize food safety.”

Dykeman, former president of the Langley Farmers’ Institute, and former chair of the Langley agricultural and economic advisory committee, was delighted.

“It’s fantastic,” said Dykeman, who operates a small specialty poultry farm in Langley.

“We [producers] were fighting for this as far back as 2010.”

Under the new regulations, entry-level and small-scale producers will be able to process up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) of meat per year, with sales permitted at the farmgate and farmers markets within their regional district.

“The regulations for the new meat licensing system will enable more farmers to keep their meat products local from start to finish,” Dykeman commented.

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“Farmers across the province have been advocating for changes like this and our government listened. We will all benefit from increased local food security while supporting our neighbours and local economies.”

There are three new licence categories.

A farmgate licence that allows farmers to sell from their farmgate or at farmers markets within their regional district and at farmers markets within a 50-km radius of their farm if they border a different regional district;

A farmgate “plus” licence that allows licencees to process 25,000 pounds (11,340 kilograms) of meat per year that can be sold at farmgates, as well as farmers markets, retail outlets and restaurants throughout B.C.;

And an abattoir licence that replaces current licences for fully inspected slaughter.

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

The new regulations “will help to alleviate some of the bottlenecks and lost revenue opportunities producers are currently experiencing [and] help pave the way to a thriving small-scale meat industry,” said Small-Scale Meat Producers Association president Julia Smith.

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