The fledgling Scottish Beef Cattle Association has set its sights on a membership of 2000 “serious beef producers” and has attracting young blood into the beef industry as a top priority.

The association, formed after a protracted period of tension between the Scottish Beef Council and the National Beef Association, held its debut meeting in Perth, where a committee of 32 members was appointed, covering eight regions of Scotland.

Such a large committee was needed to avoid the situation which had blighted “other organisations” where grassroots views were ignored by a “little coterie of people in the centre”, said Pat Lambert, previously chairman of the Scottish Beef Council.

The SBCA already has a membership of about 120 and aims to have 400 by the end of its first year.

Devolution was identified as a key factor in the emergence of the new body.

“Devolution has now been seen to be working and people are getting their viewpoints across.

Not everyone is in favour of devolution, but you only need to look at DEFRA and the Rural Payments Agency’s single farm payment situation to see devolution is working,” said Mr Lambert.

He added that the secret to successful lobbying was not “ranting and raving” from the outside, but getting round a table to get your point across face to face.

The Scottish Executive has confirmed to NFU Scotland that it will change the way penalties are applied when cattle are found to have missing ear tags at inspection.

To date, farmers have faced hefty fines under cross-compliance rules if cattle were found with two missing tags.

The Scottish Executive will now provide a 28-day window from the date of an inspection to allow producers to rectify tagging faults discovered during an inspection.