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Union Welcomes Beef Efficiency Scheme Announcement

Delivery key to driving beef sector competitiveness

Plans on how Scotland’s crucial beef sector can be driven to new levels of efficiency and competitiveness have been welcomed by NFU Scotland.

In an announcement made by Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead at ANM Marts site at Thainstone, Inverurie today (27 March), he accepted the recent recommendations of the Beef 2020 industry expert group.  He also confirmed a Rural Development fund package, worth £45 million over three years, where the majority of funds will be used to deliver a Beef Efficiency Scheme.  That will support a national database and help beef farmers identify on-farm measures to improve cow fertility, reduce disease, optimise nutrition through feed analysis, and maximise grass and soil management.

Plans are in place to have the scheme up and running for spring calving in 2016 with guidance available later this year.

NFU Scotland’s Livestock Committee Chairman Charlie Adam attended the announcement.  He said afterwards: “Beef production is the cornerstone of the Scottish agricultural industry.  We are producing a world class product and it is in our interests that we look at steps that improve our competitiveness and efficiency so that we turnaround the decline in our beef herd and start to grow our markets for Scotch beef again.

“This package offers a great opportunity to give the sector a boost.  Those charged with its design and delivery will be well aware that engaging with all Scotland’s beef farmers – big or small - will be key to its success.  Almost 90 percent of the funding - £40million out of the £45 million available - will be spent on farmers.  That means making sure the scheme is attractive and the elements of the planned database are well thought out and explained.

“The aspirations of the scheme are without fault and the Union’s livestock committee fully support the ambition to improve efficiencies on cattle farms. For the long term future of our beef sector, we need as many farmers taking it up as possible so it must be accessible to our many commercial suckled calf producers all the way through to our specialist pedigree breeders.

“Getting the detail right is important and that is why the Union’s livestock committee has already written to Scottish Government in the past few weeks with our thoughts on how the beef efficiency scheme can deliver maximum benefit to the industry.” 

Notes to Editors

The Beef 2020 Group, chaired by Quality Meat Scotland Chairman Jim McLaren was established by Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead in late 2013.  It has published its final report.  It contained 23 recommendations, nine of which were for the Scottish Government. The full report is available from: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/Livestock/Meat

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 54/15


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