Ranchers face changing governance

The governance of the cattlemen’s provincial body is changing to represent the province more equally.

The governance of the cattlemen’s provincial body is changing to represent the province more equally.

General Manager of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association Kevin Boon talked to local ranchers via Skype at the regional cattlemen’s meeting Feb. 2.

Boon said the current structure of the BCCA governing system wasn’t working well, so the directors and governance committee did research and developed a new model which they have proposed for BCCA governance.

“They are trying to set it up so we get equal representation across the province,” said Wayne Tofsrud, president of the local Skeena Regional Cattlemen’s Association.

Currently, BCCA is governed by a 28-person Board of Directors, decided based on regional association membership and number of cattle.

Then a seven-person Executive Committee is annually elected from the Board of Directors, which makes most of the decisions based on the board’s advised direction.

Boon says that because of competition for board representation and other issues arising from the current system, a committee and the board developed and proposed a new system that will divide the province into seven zones for the purpose of selecting BCCA directors.

In the proposed seven-zone system, there will be five major zones – with two directors and one representative on each of the five committees – and two minor zones – with one director and one representative on each committee.

Under the proposed new system, the Executive Committee would be eliminated and the 12-person Board of Directors and a separately elected BCCA president would meet more frequently and do the duties previously done by the executive, Boon said, adding that the system will save BCCA $25,000 to $40,000 per year.

Boon says the local Skeena Regional Cattlemen’s Assoc. has two directors on the BCCA board, but if the proposal goes through they will have one director and one person on each of the five committees – six representatives total.

The proposal will be voted on at the BCCA annual general meeting in Vernon May 23 to 25, and BCCA members will get an information package before that.

Boon also discussed several other rancher concerns.

The change to PST makes it more difficult for ranchers to get their tax exemptions, Boon said.

HST was much simpler, had less paperwork and was more cost effective but now they have to go back to the pre-HST system and make two claims, one for PST and one for GST, said Boon.

He adds that some retailers are not willing to go back to the old remittance system as it usually costs them, so ranchers fear that they won’t get the exemptions and will see higher costs for their agriculture as a result.

Boon says government will try to simplify the system down the road, and for the time being ranchers can get a FarmerID card from the B.C. annual general council, which is accepted by some retailers.

Boon said BCCA is doing a survey and ranchers need to report losses – be it cattle loss to predators, disease, hunters or road accidents; or land and property damages.

BCCA is trying to identify what is costing ranchers and how they can address problems and minimize costs, Boon said.

Boon says ranchers with property on scheduled highways need to give BCCA information about their fencing needs so that plans can be made for a future fencing program.

He adds that ranchers should also keep a careful eye on the new Code of Practice for cattle handling (link on BCCA website), and should be aware of the Animal Health Act, Open Burning Regulations, and water and waste management issues.