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BC Bison Association: 2019 Year End Update

Dear Members,

I hope this letter finds you all well as we all take a pause to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead.

Despite the board having had a slow start this year, we ended the year with a flurry of activity. The slow start can be attributed changing faces in our BC Agriculture contacts which made liaison work a bit tricky. Julie Marie Hughes has replaced Lynette Hare from the Game Farm Office who recently retired. Taylor Jeffery who was assigned temporarily as our BC Ag Livestock liaison will continue working with us and has been instrumental in accommodating our tele-conference board meetings in addition to steering us through some of the industry regulatory requirements.

After a bit of a meeting hiatus, the BCBA held its Conference and AGM in Merritt on October 25- 27, 2019. Eight of the 35 member ranches were represented and the majority of the board was able to attend. There has been a sense of urgency to develop an Emergency Response Plan for our industry as well as for individual farms so the morning session was allotted to review and build on the pre-conference work already produced of Taylor Jeffery and Conrad Schiebel. These documents will be available for membership review and comment in the new year.

Also on the speaker list was Julie Hughes who spoke on the status of the bison industry in the province. She reported the current census as:

  • Vancouver Island / Coast 2 farms 69 bison
  • Lower Mainland / Southwest 2 farms 15 bison
  • Thompson Okanagan 9 farms 526 bison
  • Kootenay 2 farms 126 bison
  • Cariboo 10 farms 269 bison
  • North Coast 0 farms
  • Nechako 3 farms 87 bison
  • Peace River 24 farms 7517 bison
  • Totals 52 farms 8609 bison

Nova Woodbury from the BC Abbatoir Association spoke about the challenges facing her industry and the impact on bison marketing and processing. Dr. John Church from Thompson Rivers University rounded off the program with his research on livestock finishing techniques and using drone technology in ranch management. A ranch tour and barbeque at Pentagle V Ranch concluded the program. Thanks to Isobel and Bernie Vere for acting as host ranch for the conference. We want to thank the CBA and Purity Feeds for sponsoring our conference.

On the political front, the association has added our voice to many other agricultural associations who are actively lobbying to have Bill 52 reviewed as many of the proposed changes to ALR regulations will create hardship for farms and ranches all across the province. We are also still actively pursuing having the Game Farm Regulations reviewed and changed to reflect the industry standards across North America.

You will also want to be aware of some other items that we have been actively working on or that may impact you.

  • New FaceBook page up and running: British Columbia Bison Association
  • BCBA webpage now hosted on CBA website
  • Premises ID numbers will soon become mandatory. Register now!
  • Look for the Emergency Response Plans to review in the New Year.
  • If you’re interested in hosting a Field Day this coming summer, please contact us.
  • Please renew your memberships. Deadline is Dec. 31 if you want to get into the directory.

I’d like to welcome Chris Kayat and Tyrol Forfar to the board. They are both new to the bison industry and are keen to contribute and learn.

All the best for 2020!


Conrad Schiebel
BCBA President

Turtle Valley Bison Ranch
724 Squilax-Turtle Valley Road,
Chase, BC. V0E 1M1