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‘New Era’ For Livestock Production Imminent, Says QMS Chairman

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‘New Era’ For Livestock Production Imminent, Says QMS Chairman

‘New Era’ For Livestock Production Imminent, Says QMS Chairman
July 11
13:45 2014

A new era for livestock production in Scotland could be on the horizon, as trepidation about the impact of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform is gradually replaced by a more driven industry, according to the chairman of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

Addressing an industry breakfast on the opening morning of the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston in June, Jim McLaren, pictured below, said the sense of anticipation in recent times had been particularly keenly felt in the beef sector, where most analysis of the predicted CAP changes suggested a significant reduction in payments by the end of the transition period.



‘ I am confident in our producers’ ability to get to grips with what the changes will mean for their individual businesses,’ he said.

While recognising the many challenges the industry faces, Mr McLaren added that the long-term prospects for the Scottish red meat industry remain very positive: ‘Global demand continues to grow for the top quality Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork we produce, and this week’s announcement on negotiations to open up the China market for beef is further evidence of that.’

Mr McLaren, who is chairman of the Beef 2020 group set up by the Scottish Government at the end of last year, welcomed the £45m beef improvement package announced by Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead: ‘This measure, along with the funding associated with the Scottish Beef Calf Scheme and the additional top-up for calves born on the islands, will help to mitigate some of the worst effects of the support reductions for beef farmers,’ he added.

He also welcomed the recognition of the diversity which exists within hill and upland areas, and the decision to split rough grazing into two categories.

Furthermore, the addition of a coupled support scheme for sheep, targeted at the most fragile areas of the country should help to maintain stock numbers in these areas where sheep production plays an important role in social and economic sustainability.

“The Beef 2020 vision is one of a confident market-driven grass-based cattle industry using leading edge technologies capable of delivering profitably to the home and world market high provenance, quality beef from sustainable production systems,” he said.

The Beef 2020 report works on three clear steps : Establishing the ‘concepts for change;  the action required to deliver that change; and the specific recommendations around those actions.

‘We are also recommending the establishment of a sustainability index in response to the growing demands for sustainable food,’ concluded Mr McLaren.

‘Another key recommendation is for significant increases in supply chain collaboration, as well as the encouragement of better market signals and a pricing system for cattle which more accurately reflects the value of the carcass.’

The draft Beef 2020 report has been submitted to the Rural Affairs Secretary and the full report is scheduled for launch this summer.

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Catering Scotland

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