The Ministry of Agriculture operates loan guarantee programs that provide assurances to financial institutions that it will guarantee 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the loan amounts taken by 12 B.C. cattle breeding and feeding associations. The guarantees help ranchers secure financing to purchase livestock, increase their herd size, and increase investment in B.C. ranching.
The ministry is increasing the amount of the Cariboo Bred Heifer Cooperative loan guarantee by a total of $600,000 to support association members in expanding their ranching operations and help ranchers in areas impacted by the 2017 wildfire season to build their herds. The Cariboo Bred Heifer Cooperative currently has 270 members and in a typical year raises 6,000 calves. The organization requested the increase to meet the demand of its members to grow their herds.
“Cariboo Bred Heifer Cooperative has seen tremendous growth over the last 18 months and anticipates this growth to continue,” said Lindy Gilson, of the Cariboo Bred Heifer Cooperative, in a press release. “We applaud the government loan guarantee program for this opportunity that continues supporting the beef industry in British Columbia.”
The B.C. government began the loan guarantee programs in the 1990s to help B.C. ranchers purchase livestock and to support the opportunity to grow the ranching sector in B.C. The programs currently have a cap of $15 million in loan guarantees, of which about $13 million has been allocated, and $2 million remains available for increases to the limits of existing associations or to form new ones.