Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing told farmers he was determined to work with the industry to reverse the decline in cattle numbers and in a way which was kind to the planet.
Speaking at the opening of the event, he said he was conscious of the many challenges the sector was facing and finding a solution to the decline in numbers was ‘not just desirable’, but essential.
While he did not reveal any new proposed measures to pursue the aim of halting the decline in numbers, he did state emphasis should be on supporting calf production by using methods such as the current beef calf scheme or something similar.
He said: “One option would be giving further support to an existing scheme which has been tried and tested, rather than starting a new one from scratch, but I am not saying today that we are committed to that.
“Given we really need to halt the decline in cattle numbers, it seems logical to me an element of a future support regime for Scottish agriculture should be one which the industry sees as being most effective.”
Mr Ewing did point out that if numbers continued to fall, there was a risk the industry might not be able to support the supply chain of abattoirs, feed merchants, contractors and hauliers, as they were all dependent on the success of the sector.
In regards to the Beef Efficiency Scheme, now in its third year, Mr Ewing said the Scottish Government expected to be able to provide all participants of the scheme with individual reports on the performance of their animals within two to three months.
He also added the Government was working closely to improve access to markets for Scotch Beef around the world, with Japan, the USA and China all expected to make visits to Scotland soon.