Newfoundland beef producers backed to develop abattoirs

Three proposals get six figures each; breeding cows also provided

Nelson Fagan Jr. greets 10 Charolais cows at his ranch near Conception Bay South in October. (N. Fagan Meats video screengrab via Facebook)

A provincial call for proposals to boost beef slaughter capacity in Newfoundland and Labrador has yielded three successful applicants.

The provincial government on Nov. 5 announced its Beef Industry Enhancement Initiative will provide just over $1.8 million in total to its three successful proposals:

  • $719,750 for Troy Humber of Northern Arm, about 40 km northeast of Grand Falls-Windsor;
  • $558,448 to Nelson Williams of Hopeall, on the east side of Trinity Bay just north of Dildo; and
  • $537,000 to Doug and Crystal Parsons of Cormack, about 70 km northeast of Corner Brook.

“By adding additional cooler space to help increase our production capacity, and upgrading from a provincially- to a federally-certified facility, we expect this expansion to open the door to wider markets and future growth in Newfoundland and Labrador’s red meat industry,” Doug Parsons said in the province’s release.

Developing secondary beef processing is a way to help deal with lack of access to proper slaughter and packing facilities in the province, the government said, describing the problem as “an impediment to growth for the province’s beef and sheep sectors.”

The Beef Industry Enhancement Initiative was budgeted in June for up to $2.5 million for abattoir development, plus $1 million to provide 10 beef cows each to 20 beef operations, “to improve the quality and number of animals” produced in the province.

That separate call for proposals has led to 200 breeding cows being distributed to operations across the province, the government said in its release.

Nelson Fagan Jr., one of the successful applicants, used the funding to buy 10 pregnant Charolais cows for his beef operation at Conception Bay South.

“Charolais are known to be strong, rugged and extremely adaptable to a variety of climates and environmental conditions,” he said in the province’s release. “We expect they will be a perfect match for Newfoundland and Labrador’s terrain and cooler weather.”

The base stock of breeding animals bought through the program is expected to result in about “1,300 animals of the same lineage” in the province within five years.

Provincial Agriculture Minister Elvis Loveless said the beef initiative is “opening up this industry by providing beef producers access to a variety of cattle strains, and offering research opportunities to collect information on cattle breeds that best suit Newfoundland and Labrador’s climate and environment.”

The province today produces less than one per cent of the beef its residents consume, he said, leading to imports of about 14 million kg per year. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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Dave Bedard

Editor, Daily News, Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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