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We raise beef cattle in British Columbia and have farmed
here since 1877. Paul Beingessner is right in his latest Letter
from Saskatchewan; thousands of Canadian farmers will
go broke because of biofuel. This is the worst it has been
since the Great Depression. We were in the hole for three
years because of BSE. Then prices dropped a further $0.20
a pound last November, because feedlots that buy our cattle
have to pay more for grain and corn due to competition for
feed grains from biofuel.
There isn't much else that we can raise on our ranch but
beef. After 130 years, we may have to go out of the cattle
business before going so far into debt that we lose the ranch.
We are direct marketing some of our beef as “organic
grass-fed beef,” but because of global warming and a
10-year drought, our grass isn't that good for fattening.
There are about 5,000 farmers in BC that are in the same predicament
as we are.
Paul mentioned the cancellation of Crow Rate that subsidized
grain coming into BC. That hurt BC Ranchers as well, because
local feedlots could not afford the higher grain prices and
went out of business. Our BC cattle are trucked to the prairies
for fattening. If BC and prairie farmers start selling off
their herds and flood the market, that could really hit farm
prices this fall.