Last updated on January 31, 2024

Beef cattle are raised throughout British Columbia (B.C.), which has about 5% of the national beef herd. The majority of B.C. producers run either a cow/calf or cow/yearling operation. There is also a small but important feedlot sector.

Production practices vary throughout the province, depending on the local climate and other factors.


British Columbia ranchers supply beef to local, national and international markets. The majority of calves raised in B.C. are marketed in the Fall via auctions to feedlots in Alberta and the USA, where they will be fed a grain diet and brought up to slaughter weight:

  • A small portion of calves remain in B.C. for backgrounding or finishing
  • Beef from B.C. cattle that are finished and processed in Alberta abattoirs is sold as Canadian beef in domestic and international marketplaces

Riparian areas are zones of lush, green vegetation that surround wetlands, lakes, streams, and rivers. Find out how to manage and improve riparian areas for cattle grazing. 

Forage consists of herbaceous plant material, such as hay or pasture, used to feed domestic animals. Find out how to supply cattle with forage crops.

Learn how to start a new farm, prepare a business plan, or access funding for your agricultural business: farm business management.

Meat inspection and licensing

In October 2021, important changes to meat inspection and licensing came into effect, which created new licence categories, and allowed more modernized inspection approaches. The Province of B.C. ensures that meat produced within its borders is safe for consumers, while providing sufficient slaughter and meat processing facilities. 


Animal Health Act

The Animal Health Act was updated in 2015 to allow the Province to better manage and respond to animal diseases and:

  • Strengthen detection and management of diseases that can spread between animals and humans
  • Ensure that B.C.'s farms are competitive by preventing, promptly detecting and eradicating animal diseases
  • Reflect the realities of increasing global travel and trade

Livestock Act

The Livestock Act:

  • Permits establishment of Livestock Districts where, with minor exceptions, livestock may run at large within the district boundaries
  • Permits the establishment of Bull Control Areas, which determine the number, breed, breeding, quality and age of bulls within the area
  • Permits the establishment of Pound Districts to regulate the capture of animals at large within a specified area

Ministry of Forests and Range Act

The Ministry of Forests and Range Act recognizes that forest and range resources, which are to be managed, protected and conserved under the Act, support a diverse range of uses, including harvesting of timber, fisheries, water, outdoor recreation and livestock grazing.