The B.C. government is providing $2.2 million over a three-year period to help replace damaged fencing on provincial Crown land, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development Donna Barnett announced today.
The new funding program will be administered through a partnership of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association. The B.C. Cattlemen’s Association has successfully delivered other initiatives to assist the province’s ranching industry, including the Provincial Livestock Fencing Program.
Fences are vital for the efficient management of livestock by the cattle industry on Crown land. They also help protect other resources on Crown land that contribute to the economic stability of rural communities, such as water sources, wildlife, sensitive ecosystems, fisheries and recreational amenities.
Under provincial legislation, rangeland fencing on Crown land must be maintained by the range tenure holders who use that land for grazing their animals. However, much of the Crown fencing that now exists on Crown land was built in the 1970s and 1980s, so some of it is past its normal life expectancy and is beyond the normal maintenance capabilities of ranchers.
With thousands of kilometres of fences on provincial Crown land in deteriorating condition, existing tenure holders sometimes have difficulty keeping livestock within their assigned areas.
In addition, trees killed by the mountain pine beetle epidemic in recent years have been falling onto fences in some areas and causing damage, placing an extra economic burden on the ranchers who are obliged to repair them.
The $2.2 million being allocated by the provincial government over the next three years to repair and replace Crown rangeland fencing will benefit individual tenure holders and the entire ranching industry in B.C.
As part of Balanced Budget 2017, government is providing $10 million in 2017-18 to support land-management initiatives across B.C., including range fencing repairs and multi-year invasive plant management projects.
Upgrading range infrastructure is one of the key ways that the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen, grow and diversify rural communities.
The new funding for the repair and replacement of rangeland fencing builds on the immediate investments and long-term action plan outlined in B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy that are expected to create over 26,000 jobs and add $2.8 billion to the provincial GDP.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“The B.C. government is taking a leadership role to help the cattle industry deal with the maintenance of rangeland infrastructure. We are looking forward to working with the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association to get this important program underway.”
Donna Barnett, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development and MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin –
“The ranching industry is a crucial component of many rural economies in B.C. The $2.2 million in funding that we’ve announced today will help ranchers repair or replace fencing where necessary and help keep their operations running smoothly.”
Kevin Boon, general manager of the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association –
“Stewardship of Crown land is a responsibility that the ranchers of B.C. take seriously and we are proud to do it. The infrastructure required to properly manage this invaluable resource needs upgrading. Ensuring that we can continue to enhance the health of this land and its wildlife requires ongoing investment in infrastructure. The funding announced today will build on the partnership between the government and the cattlemen of B.C. and this investment will go a long way toward keeping our rangelands robust.”
- The funding announced today is specifically for fences that don’t run alongside highways, but may be needed on parts of a Crown range tenure. The Provincial Livestock Fencing Program (administered by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and delivered through the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association) specifically deals with fences along highways. In 2016 and 2017, $4 million was spent to construct 250 kilometres of fencing.
- The total direct output generated by B.C. cattle producers is about $317 million annually (as of 2015).
- Cattle operations are typically family-run businesses that have been active for several generations. These businesses are crucial to the economic well-being of many rural communities.
Read about B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy at: https://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/b-c-s-rural-economic-development-strategy/
Learn more about B.C.’s cattle industry at: http://www.cattlemen.bc.ca/industry.htm