In this week’s column, Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt shares information about a new company called B.C. Beef Producers Inc. that may interest local beef producers. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

In this week’s column, Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt shares information about a new company called B.C. Beef Producers Inc. that may interest local beef producers. (Lindsay Chung Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

RANCH MUSINGS: A regional brand of beef

David Zirnhelt writes about B.C. Beef Producers Inc., a new producer-owned company near Kamloops

David Zirnhelt

Observer Contributor

Today, I am directing my column to larger beef producers in our region who might be interested in a new market. Recently, the first group of cull cows were processed at a facility leased by this new initiative in Westwold and will be sold as B.C. Beef.

Westwold is south of Kamloops and not exactly local but more local than where most of the cull cows go to be butchered and turned into hamburger.

B.C. Beef Producers Inc. is a producer-owned company which is the result of a Government of B.C.-financed initiative. Originally, it was thought that Prince George might be a central location and would be able to export beef from B.C. to Canada and the rest of the world.

The feasibility study and the subsequent business plan resulted in a business model that is being tested as we speak.

The market studies show that more than 80 per cent of consumers would consider buying beef product B.C.-bred, raised and processed if they had the chance.

Fifty-five per cent of meat (beef, pork, chicken) is in the form of ground product. Hamburger mostly comes from older cows, which don’t need to be fat to be made into burger. Juiciness, which most consumers like, happens in animals that have adequate fat. Feedlots do this.

It is early days, but the launch needs support and commitment from some of our medium and larger players in the beef business.

B.C. Beef Producers is selling shares in the form of “hooks,” which hang an animal after slaughter. One hundred and seventy-five dollars buys a shareholder the right to supply one animal a year — 10 hooks, 10 animals.

If your herd has 70 mother cows, you probably retire 10 cows for various reasons. Failing to get pregnant is the most common reason. So you could buy 10 shares and ship the processing plant that many cows.

Once you agree to provide a certain number of cows, you have to supply them on the dates agreed to. The price is based on CANFAX records of sales of this kind of (“market”) cow.

Of course, I am just hitting the highlights here. More information can be found by calling the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association at 250-573-3611 or looking on the Internet at

I urge producers to consider this market for the cows they are retiring.

A lot of time and effort has gone into investigating whether more B.C. beef could be finished and marketed in BC. It is the processing — we don’t have enough slaughter facilities in the region — and marketing that gets in the way of “ gate to plate” supply chains.

There are other B.C. brands but little in the way of marketing infrastructure. Producers wanting to sell directly to consumers are mostly on their own. This new company will do the marketing with the “Genuine B.C. Beef” brand.

If not enough producers buy into this venture, the “hooks” will be filled with custom-processed cattle, that is cattle from non-owners. Commitments may be made to non-owners to process their cattle on a regular basis in order to have enough product processed.

In that case, would-be owners who need to sell unproductive cows may not have the opportunity to help fill the consumer wish to buy “local.”

Profits will be distributed to purchasers of “hooks,” thus helping the financial viability of ranchers. A lot more money stays in the B.C. rural economy when processing and sales occur here in B.C.

Those interested in this new opportunity have to get on it or lose this potentially rewarding piece of the beef value chain.

COVID-19 and the problems of the massive slaughter plants suggest that if we want food security, then we need to support more local processing. Check it out!

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake.

READ MORE: Ranch Musings: Perennial cereals and their potential to heal

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File Photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Visit to Kluskus (Lhoosk’us):Part 2

As dark descended on this five-horse outfit, we found a place to camp

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in South Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Jim Hilton took a trip to Helmcken falls in Wells Gray park. (Jim Hilton Photo)
HILTON: Forests and human health, Part one

What can Quesnel take away from worldwide forestry programs

Mitch Love played his minor hockey in Quesnel before moving to the WHL and beginning his coaching career. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Mitch Love, Team Canada, come up one game short

The Quesnel-born coach helped lead Canada to a silver medal at the World Juniors

Amy Newman (left) and castmate Rebecca Thackray parading around Barkerville in costume in 2018. Newman designed both gowns, which were both made of silk, and constructed her own gown. Thackray’s gown was made by a seamstress in Vancouver. Her camel-coloured velveteen cloak was made in Hong Kong, with pattern and fabric chosen by Newman. Her wool neckpiece/shawl was crocheted by a friend on Vancouver Island. The reticule/handbag was handmade by Newman, and her olive green shawl was ready-made, as were her elegant green leather gloves. (Photo Submitted)
Amy Newman wins international costume design award for Nam Sing film

The Nam Sing pack trip re-enactment took place in September 2019 in Barkerville

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read