The livestock inspection station in Rainy River has yet to make a profit for area cattlemen, showing a loss on the books for 1998 as the Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association held its annual meeting last Wednesday in Stratton.
Expenses outweighed revenues by more than $1,000 last year, dwindling away the reserve of money the RRCA had received to run the station when it first opened.
Tom Morrish, who was elected to the RRCA board of directors for a two-year term at last week’s meeting, said he has been in contact with local MP Robert Nault about the situation.
Morrish noted the station here was the only privately-owned and operated inspection facility in the country. He said Nault’s suggestion was there may be funding to help keep it afloat, or that the government may take it over entirely.
“What they want from [the RRCA] is a letter stating what our intentions are, Morrish said. “[Nault] said we should decide which way we want to go on that. He sounded very positive about it.”
Former president and director Ralph Hunsperger suggested the RRCA try to hand the facility over to the government and wash their hands of it.
But the general feeling from the roughly 20 people on hand for the meeting was not to give up on the inspection station entirely just yet, especially if the in-transit issue gets resolved, which may see more head of cattle going through Rainy River bound for Manitoba.
“I think we need to research on what’s going to happen,” Kim Jo Calder said, noting there was enough cash left in the reserves to maintain the station at a loss for another year or two.
“Why don’t we write him a letter and get funding to help?” echoed Dean McLean.
Nault confirmed in an interview yesterday that he was working to get government funding to help with the cost of the inspection station, stressing the whole reason for having the port of entry at Rainy River was to open up the district to an export market.
Unfortunately, he said the export market for beef isn’t doing very well globally.
“We’re going to have some lean times in the beef industry,” he warned. “But it will turn itself around.”
Also at last week’s annual meeting:
•Harold Duivenvoorden, Brent Miller, Tom Morrish, Peter Spuzak, and Archie Wiersema all were elected to two-year terms to the RRCA’s board of directors (the new executive will be selected at its first meeting next month);
•the RRCA sent a resolution to the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association not to support the request by the Ontario Feeders Association, a group which separated from the OCA, for budget funding;
•concerns were raised and a resolution sent to the OCA regarding inconsistent crop insurance settlement with AgriCorp due to the drought last summer; and
•a resolution was sent to the OCA asking it to lobby the powers that be that financial responsibility regarding losses in agriculture caused by wildlife, not just predators, be shared by everyone (not just farmers), and that financial funding for compensation be maintained at a fair level (not decreased).