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Agriculture community foresees growth

Miss Kitsap Kristen Eddings is shocked after winning this year’s Miss Washington competition as first runner-up Miss Pierce County Elyse Umemoto congratulates her. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Miss Kitsap Kristen Eddings is shocked after winning this year’s Miss Washington competition as first runner-up Miss Pierce County Elyse Umemoto congratulates her.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Local cattle ranchers and food producers are banding together to revitalize and promote agriculture as a viable alternative for long term economic sustainability in the region.

Cattle ranchers and food producers met with the Lakes Economic Development Association (LEDA) for their first formal agriculture discussion group Dec. 5.

“The cattle ranchers in particular have felt isolated up until now. The focus has always been on forestry,” says Kathy Bibby, a Lakes District economic development officer. “But we have to take a serious look at agriculture for our area. It has the second highest growth rate among all industries in he province.”

The group’s inaugural discussion laid the framework for future initiatives, including how to promote the agricultural sector in the Lakes District can as a contributor to local economic development strategies.

Attendees identified several areas deserving of concentrated attention, including the costs of developing a local slaughterhouse, opportunities in the organic food industry, and the conversion of more forest lands to grazing.

Bibby appealed to the agriculture community to channel product development queries through her department to help streamline industry growth.

The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture applauded the formation of the discussion group, and promised ministry presence at future meetings.

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