The Metro Vancouver regional district may become bison ranchers.

The district, which owns a 900-head cow/calf cattle ranch at Ashcroft, is now looking at raising different kinds of livestock, including bison, in an effort to increase the ranch’s profitability.

Metro Vancouver, previously the Greater Vancouver Regional District, purchased the 4,200-hectare ranch in March 2000 as a replacement for the Cache Creek Landfill.

When it purchased the ranch, the regional district made commitments to continue traditional ranch operations — breeding, calving and auctioning of calves and crop production. A portion of the ranch was to have been used for the landfill.

In a report to Metro Vancouver’s agriculture committee on Thursday, Dawn Ross, project co-ordinator for Ashcroft Ranch, said labour and grain prices are high and the cattle market is low, having not recovered since the 2003 BSE outbreak.

To increase revenue, the regional district will look at optimizing herd size and will evaluate alternative livestock, like bison.

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