The B.C. government recently announced $2.2 million over a three-year period to help replace damaged fencing on provincial Crown land.
The new funding program will be administered through a partnership of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association. The B.C. Cattlemen’s Association has successfully delivered other initiatives to assist the province’s ranching industry, including the Provincial Livestock Fencing Program.
Fences are vital for the efficient management of livestock by the cattle industry on Crown land. They also help protect other resources on Crown land that contribute to the economic stability of rural communities, such as water sources, wildlife, sensitive ecosystems, fisheries and recreational amenities.
Under provincial legislation, rangeland fencing on Crown land must be maintained by the range tenure holders who use that land for grazing their animals. However, much of the Crown fencing that now exists on Crown land was built in the 1970s and 1980s, so some of it is past its normal life expectancy and is beyond the normal maintenance capabilities of ranchers.
With thousands of kilometres of fences on provincial Crown land in deteriorating condition, existing tenure holders sometimes have difficulty keeping livestock within their assigned areas.
In addition, trees killed by the mountain pine beetle epidemic in recent years have been falling onto fences in some areas and causing damage, placing an extra economic burden on the ranchers who are obliged to repair them.
The $2.2 million being allocated by the provincial government over the next three years to repair and replace Crown rangeland fencing will benefit individual tenure holders and the entire ranching industry in B.C.
“Stewardship of Crown land is a responsibility that the ranchers of B.C. take seriously and we are proud to do it,” says Kevin Boon, general manager of the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association, “The infrastructure required to properly manage this invaluable resource needs upgrading. Ensuring that we can continue to enhance the health of this land and its wildlife requires ongoing investment in infrastructure. This funding will build on the partnership between the government and the cattlemen of B.C. and this investment will go a long way toward keeping our rangelands robust.”
The funding announced is specifically for fences that don’t run alongside highways, but may be needed on parts of a Crown range tenure. The Provincial Livestock Fencing Program (administered by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and delivered through the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association) specifically deals with fences along highways. In 2016 and 2017, $4 million was spent to construct 250 kilometres of fencing.
Read about B.C.’s Rural Economic Development Strategy at: https://bcjobsplan.gov.bc.ca/b-c-s-rural-economic-development-strategy/
Learn more about B.C.’s cattle industry at: http://www.cattlemen.bc.ca/industry.htm