A Scottish Government beef summit is to be chaired by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing in the next few weeks, hard on the heels of this week’s NFU Scotland (NFUS) industry meeting in Inverurie.
The union’s gathering focused on the challenging conditions in the beef market being experienced at all levels of the supply chain and the poor returns for farmers which have seen some producers receiving almost £200 less per head for cattle than last year.
NFUS president, Andrew McCornick chaired the meeting and reported there had been a united call for greater government detail on how the sector will be supported until 2024. He said membership organisations also wanted investment to support livestock farms in contributing to Scottish climate change targets.
“There was also general agreement from the membership organisations in the room that domestic governments need to do more to ensure that Scotch beef and other domestic produce is fully utilised in public procurement,” Mr McCornick said.
“Equally we need to see greater effort from the food service sector in procuring and promoting a Scottish food offering. We believe that, in both cases, the story behind the quality and standards of Scottish farming and produce present a tremendous opportunity to build on.
Looking ahead to the Scottish Government summit, Fergus Ewing insisted Brexit was the biggest threat to farming and the food and drink sector.
“We are already seeing the EU and Irish government working together to support Irish beef farmers who have experienced significant price drops since Brexit was announced, and I have been in contact with the UK Secretary of State regarding the ongoing drop in the UK beef prices,” he said.