NFU Scotland to host ‘Red Meat Crisis Panel Night’
Beef farmers and crofters in Scotland continue to be under severe pressure due to desperately poor market returns.
Beef prices for farmers and crofters are down at least £200/head on prime cattle compared to last year and prices have not seen any significant rises since the spring.
NFU Scotland has been pushing to generate solutions from within the membership as well as with industry stakeholders to identify short, medium and long term solutions.
The Scottish Government also held a beef meeting in Stirling on August 12 to invite views from stakeholders on what more could be done about the situation at which NFU Scotland was well represented.
Throughout the summer, NFU Scotland ran the Back Scotch Beef campaign, encouraging the Scottish public to support Scottish farmers and crofters.
This sought to raise public awareness of the desperate situation the beef industry finds itself in as well as the key role they, as consumers, can play by supporting Scotch Beef.
NFU Scotland officeholders will travel to Belfast and Brussels in the coming weeks to discuss the beef market situation with fellow UK farming unions and their European counterparts, all of whom are suffering from poor returns for beef.
NFU Scotland Livestock Committee chairman Jimmy Ireland said: “There has been no chink of light in the ongoing beef crisis and the mood among beef producers is very downbeat, frustrated and angry.
A farmer with 100 prime cattle to sell will be receiving £20,000 less than they got back from the market last year.
“Warnings from across the country are that suckler herds are bound to go off.
“That is deeply concerning, not just for Scotland’s iconic beef industry, but the impact that will have on the positive environmental and sustainability credentials of Scottish suckler herds and the hard work of farming families running these farms
“Last month, I attended the Scottish Government’s stakeholder meeting in Stirling and I’m disappointed that we’ve yet to see more action come out of that.
“For our own part, we’ve written to the UK Government urging clearer origin labelling on beef products and carried out an extensive beef burger shelf watch in order to hold supermarkets to account.
“Next week, I’ll travel to Brussels where European beef farmers will discuss the collapse in the European beef price and the irresponsibility of a Free Trade Deal with Mercosur which could allow greater beef imports, to the detriment of farming families and businesses across Scotland and Europe.
“Farmers are experiencing dire market prices for beef and further action on behalf of our members will be top of the agenda at NFU Scotland’s next Livestock Committee meeting in early October.
“If supermarkets, foodservice operators and wholesalers continue to want environmentally and climate-friendly grass-based Scottish beef, then they must pay a sustainable price for it. No ifs, no buts.”