SAVED: PAGE: ACTIVE AREA:

COUPLING CRUCIAL TO CURB SCOTCH BEEF HERD DECLINE

NFU Scotland has repeated its call for Scotland’s beef sector to secure a meaningful deal from CAP reform after figures showed another alarming decline in the Scottish beef herd.

Beef production accounts for almost a quarter of Scotland’s agricultural output and NFUS has been working at a UK and Scottish level to ensure implementation of the recently agreed CAP deal can arrest falling cow numbers and stabilise the cornerstone of THE Scottish farming industry.

New Scottish Government data on payments made through the Scottish Beef Calf Scheme shows that the number of calves claimed in 2012 fell to 402,000.  That compares with 432,000 calves claimed in 2011.  In that time, the number of businesses claiming under the scheme has fallen by 500, suggesting that many are walking away from keeping beef cows. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that falling cow numbers and poor weather may result in a further reduction in beef calves claimed in 2013.

Under the new CAP package, the Union wants the option to continue to couple support to beef calves.  It has recently contacted Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson and Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead on the matter. 

The Union will also meet with levy body Quality Meat Scotland to discuss the situation and has put in place its own beef producer survey to monitor farmer intentions and what impact the CAP deal may have on their plans to continue producing beef.

NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said:
“Our world-famous beef industry is the cornerstone of farming in Scotland and the premium attached to Scotch beef, and the recent trade for beef cattle shows that there are many positives attached to the sector and the Scotch beef brand. 

“On the downside, the number of Scottish producers keeping beef cows has been on the slide for some time – down almost 1000 from the last CAP deal in 2005.  In addition, these dramatic figures for 2012 beef calf scheme claims are alarming with the realistic expectation that figures for 2013 will be poorer again.


“The current debate on implementation of new CAP rules in Scotland presents an opportunity to provide clear direction, arrest the decline and drive some confidence back into beef production. 
 
“Having the option to couple some support to beef production and create the incentive to keep producing beef calves is widely supported across the industry.  Using the UK ceiling to calculate the proportion of direct support Scotland can deliver to beef production could offer a more effective solution than simply extending the existing Scottish calf scheme.

“That is why we have had an ongoing dialogue with both Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson and Scottish Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead on the subject.

“We are also being proactive on trying to nail what Scottish beef farmers’ intentions are and how any decisions taken around delivery of CAP support may influence that thinking.  Our beef farmers’ survey is now live and will inform that debate.

“In addition, we will discuss with QMS what implications the decline in production and producers has for our red meat sector and our ambitions.  A stable supply of Scottish beef cattle is essential to the Scotch beef brand and underpins the business of our markets, abattoirs, meat processors and food sector up and down the country.  The provision of a stable and positive operating environment for calf producers and finishers is in all parties’ interests.

“Critical mass of beef production is vital if we are to retain a diverse and innovative processing sector. The loss of abattoir capacity from Orkney and Aberdeenshire and the closure of contract kill operators in St Andrews and Galashiels has already reduced the diversity of the sector.  That has the potential to erode the value of the Scotch brand in markets across the border and overseas and the ability of the brand to deliver premiums back to farm.”   Ends
 
Notes to Editors

 The European Commission has opened the door to 8% of the Scottish or UK budget to be utilised as coupled support for sectors that are likely to be vulnerable under an area-based system. Coupled support is likely to be a vital tool in underpinning production within vulnerable sectors and will be pivotal in ensuring Scotland’s limited Pillar 1 budget is used efficiently. Coupled support will be crucial not only for Scottish agriculture but will be important in maintaining communities, downstream meat processing, the rural economy, local employment and exports.

 In light of falling production levels, NFU Scotland has issued a beef producer survey to gain an understanding of producers’ business plans and factors, including CAP Reform, which may trigger changes in scale or focus of production.  The survey is online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NFUS2013calfproducerssurvey

 

 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 105/13


< Article List

Close

Report Abusive Comment

Comment Content:

Why it offends me (optional):



Have Your Say

No-one has commented on this article yet. Be the first to have your say...

New Comment

Share

Total Pages:
Total Results:
Page Start:
Page Result #:

Quick Contact

 
 
Which Region do you live in?  
Are you a member of NFU Scotland?  
 
 

This form collects and sends the information supplied to NFU Scotland. You can read our privacy policy for full details on how we protect and manage your data.
  I consent to having NFU Scotland collect the above details.

Address

NFU Scotland
Head Office
Rural Centre - West Mains
Ingliston, Midlothian
EH28 8LT

Tel: 0131 472 4000
Email: info@nfus.org.uk

NFU Mutual Logo

Get the App

NFUS App QR Code

©NFU Scotland • All Rights Reserved • Web design by Big Red DigitalLog in

Close

Contact Us

 

 

 

No Robots:

This form collects and sends the information supplied to NFU Scotland. You can read our privacy policy for full details on how we protect and manage your data.
  I consent to having NFU Scotland collect the above details.