The pulse is strong in cattle land (Summer 2014)

    Here’s an easy way to take the pulse of the cattle industry, at least at the cow and calf level. Try buying a fence stake after April. This spring they became harder and harder to find until by late May it was a scramble to find more than a dozen here and a half dozen there. By that time some manufacturers reported they were done for the year while others could not keep up with demand. It did not matter if the hunt was for hackmatack, spruce, or green, rot-in-a-year fir. 
    Cedar, the gold standard and really the only acceptable, long-lasting wooden post for anyone raising organic beef or lamb, is a rarity in Nova Scotia where few areas grow them. They could be bought early on for $5 per. A New Brunswick mill was selling them for $2.50 – you fetch. Would they cut the price for a truckload? Nope. The price was the price, for one or hundreds.
    And so, the pulse is strong, especially so for cattle while for lamb it flutters depending on timing, quality, and circumstance. It would not hurt at all to have a federally inspected plant killing lambs in Atlantic Canada. Northumberlamb Co-op members are growing understandably restless waiting for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to get off its bureaucratic butt and license the shiny re-vamped Brookside Abattoir. 
    Most of us who’ve built any structure in the country larger than a wellbox have had to deal with building inspectors. Some can be pills, to put it mildly, while others are great to deal with. Imagine having to hire an engineer for whatever project, and only after building to his or her specs having the building inspector okay the job. It’s an extra layer of detail and paperwork and chance for communication to go off the rails, especially when it can’t be expected that your engineers have any previous experience with your particular undertaking and the rules that apply.
    This is what Brookside faces. They have had to hire Perennia to oversee rebuilding the abattoir outside Truro to meet CFIA requirements. That might be somewhat okay were it not that CFIA offers no preliminary inspections or advice as work progresses. An inspection will only take place when the work is done and it suits CFIA to take a look. Can’t you see it? At long last the day arrives. CFIA comes to view the work and, oh no, you can’t have that door there! And those lights will never do, and you’ll have to raise that ceiling. . . .
    Come on, CFIA, you’re not dealing with Cargill. You might wish that you were, for bigger is always better in the eyes of some, but we are talking about a producer-owned co-op with severely limited abilities to play your expensive games. We are talking about support for the rural economy of a region. A great deal of lip service is paid the rural economy by every level of government. Every level stalls when it comes to cutting red tape that throttles endeavors like Brookside. DvL