Looking ahead, however, he believes the beef and lamb sector faces unprecedented challenges – not only in terms of rising input costs, volatile farmgate prices and disease threats, but also in the wider arena of climate change and the ongoing impact of CAP reform.
“Because so many of these issues are interlinked, it makes it especially difficult for producers to focus on any one area at the expense of others.
There is also no easy ‘one size fits all’ approach to problem solving in a sector unique in the diversity of its individual businesses and the structure of its production systems.”
The EBLEX board has agreed a business plan and performance targets.
These concentrate on delivery in three key areas: promoting better returns for the beef and sheep industry, championing the development of a sustainable industry and stimulating demand for quality beef and lamb.
Delivering a better future for the industry starts with levy payers actively taking part in the Better Returns Programmes, says Mr Cross. It includes a range of free practical tools and advice that can result in a real difference in farm performance, he adds.
“If that performance improvement is scaled up across the sector, we then have the foundations to build an industry that is properly equipped to address those challenges that lie ahead.”