PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The British Columbian government in Canada is committing up to $450,000 ($347,000) of support for a beef packing plant in Prince George.

The provincial government estimates that the plant could produce 80 full-time jobs by 2020 and another 620 spin-off jobs.

Lana Popham, the minister of agriculture of British Columbia, announced the decision at the BC Cattleman’s Association (BCCA) annual meeting on June 1.

“This project has the potential to ensure BC cattle are bred, raised and finished in our province, providing retailers, suppliers, restaurants and consumers with great quality BC beef,” Popham said. “This can provide an economic boost to rural BC and give consumers what they want.”

In the coming months, the funding for the proposed beef packing plant will be used to develop an industry-led co-operative business model.

BCCA is leading the efforts to organize and build the plant. The group is hoping to start the project in 2019.

“We recognize that there will be other considerations before we start building this facility, we need to look at establishing a finishing process, and increasing feeding capacity,” said Kevin Boon, general manager with the BCCA.  “There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this is an exciting first step in realizing that vision.”