One producer suggested increasing levy rates to improve the promotion of red meat.
Urgent and collaborative action across the whole supply chain to support farmers affected by the on-going beef price crisis was demanded at this week’s Royal Welsh Show – even in one voice to the extent of increasing producer levy rates.
In a joint action call the presidents of the four UK farming unions – NFU Cymru’s John Davies, England’s Minette Batters, Scotland’s Andrew McCornick, and Ivor Ferguson, of the Ulster Farmers’ Union -- said the situation was “serious”-- with the UK beef sector at crisis point.
“We have seen downward pressure on farmgate prices throughout the year and this dire situation cannot, and must not, be allowed to continue,” the quartet warned in a joint statement.
“While we accept that this is a complex situation and there are a number of factors affecting this drop in price, beef farmers cannot continue to sustain this decrease any longer. Let us be absolutely clear -- the sustainability of UK beef production is at stake.
“Together we are calling for action across the whole supply chain -- farmers, levy bodies, processors, retailers and the food service sector – in order to bring the UK beef industry back from the brink.”
In a five-point plan they said there was a need for a co-ordinated promotional campaign by retailers, processors and the UK levy boards to stimulate consumer demand, alongside a Government review of public procurement commitments with an emphasis on UK sourcing.
They said it was wrong that while the British military was being denied the benefits of home produced meat, the French military was being fed on French meat.
Clive Swan, a North Wales producer-butcher from Treuddyn, Mold, said he favoured a rise in producer levies in order to increase the level of funding available for promotional activities.
He added: “Compared to the price of a finished animal the money being spent on promoting the meat is abysmal.”