Ranchers concerned about waste management proposal

Northern ranchers need to be aware as regulation changes may cause big problems in the coming years.

Northern ranchers need to be aware as regulation changes may cause big problems in the coming years.

The B.C. Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA) is a provincial policy-making association and that lobbies the government on behalf of B.C. cattle ranchers and is their official voice to government. It is made up of 17 regions represented by two bodies: a Board of Directors, which makes major policy decisions and meets three times a year, and a seven-person Executive Committee, annually elected from the Board of Directors, which meets once a month, is advised by the board and makes the more day-to day decisions.

At the Skeena Regional Cattlemen’s meeting in Houston Feb. 2, General Manager of BCCA Kevin Boon talked to local ranchers via Skype about discussions he and BCCA President David Haywood-Farmer were having with government ministers about issues affecting ranchers.

He said one big concern for ranchers is the Waste Management Act, proposed Jan. 2012 by the Ministry of Environment.

Asked what the Waste Management Act was about, President of the Skeena Regional Cattlemen’s Association, Wayne Tofsrud said it was a waste management proposal based on the dairy and poultry industry in the Fraser Valley, and it was proposed as a blanket regulation to cover all of B.C.

But here in the north, those regulations just wouldn’t work, said Tofsrud.

“We’re in trouble if that comes out,” said Matt Taylor, president of the Smithers Bulkley Valley Cattlemen’s Assoc.

“I don’t think we could farm when it comes down to it,” he said, adding that there are regulations that require winter feeding area’s to be covered, and all waste piles over six inches deep to be covered, which is not possible in this area.

The BCCA opposed the waste management proposal very strongly, said Tofsrud, adding that now all the interested parties are going to sit down and discuss the pros and cons.

Boon says the meeting in Kamloops Feb. 12 is the third meeting of the consultation process and holds some promise to make government aware that one size does not fit all for provincial regulations.