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BC Cattlemen’s Association General Manager Kevin Boon said ranchers are entering unchartered territory.
Boon told Vista Radio the coronavirus pandemic comes during a hectic time for farmers.
“We’re just coming into calving season, and as such, this is the busiest time of the year for most of our ranchers, they are going to be at home calving out those cows so self-isolation is an easy thing to do.”
Boon stresses there is no shortage of food, stating there is ample supply, it’s just a matter of getting it to market, further stating it’s business as usual.
“For the most part, nothing has changed, the trucks are coming in the supplies are still coming in and it’s more to do with people’s buying habits right now than anything and once they have that stock on supply I think it will level out.”
“I don’t want to call it panic buying but it’s preparation buying where people typically don’t have much more than three or four days of food so what we’re seeing is people anticipating should they get sick are stocking up if they are quarantined for two or three weeks.”
Last week, the BC Government declared Food and Agricultural Service Providers an essential service.
“We’re already seeing market impacts due to stock markets and the trade and everything like that but at the end of the day, people need to eat and it’s extremely important we keep those supply lines open so we can keep the public fed.”
As for any potential long-term consequences, Boon estimates ranchers will be able to carry on with their regular spring and summer preparation.
“Most of our guys in BC will be selling their cattle this fall, we do have the spring run from grass or cattle that will move through and for us, the impact is basically on whether or not we can get our product to market uninterrupted.”