May 21, 2013 - 4:17 PM
The closing of the federal Grassland Applied Technology Centre on Ord Road in Kamloops came as a surprise to many and Coun. Nancy Bepple wants to know what the province and the Government of Canada are doing to ensure the cattle industry will receive support.
Bepple notes 29 per cent of the province's beef industry is located in the Kamloops region and contributes over $200 million directly to the economy. The closure of the agriculture centre is a loss to the area and the industry, she says.
“That's another nail in the coffin for cattle producers in the region – we should make it clear to MLAs and the MP (that) we would like to see some other support to make sure going forward we can keep that industry,” she says.
The facility began operation in 1935 studying cattle and feed but in 2011 it transitioned to researching grasslands and environmental range practices. The government is now consolidating federal beef research operations in Alberta and handing over grasslands research to the provinces. Research stations in Agassiz and Summerland are the only two remaining in B.C. The closure brings with it the loss of 14 jobs in Kamloops.
While the research centre is federal, Bepple want the province to ensure there is a healthy cattle industry and want to see expertise is still available for things like range control and grasslands.
MP Cathy McLeod told Coun. Nelly Dever arrangements would be made to have someone talk about the intentions over the closure at a city workshop on the agricultural plan June 13. Council will then consider sending a letter asking for more information if they are not satisfied with the information provided at the workshop.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013