The Scottish council of the National Beef Association has split from the main organisation to form a rival body, the Scottish Cattle Association.

Having spent the past year challenging NBA’s spending strategy, former NBA board Scottish representative Keith Redpath said that he and his fellow Scottish council members “would have preferred to reform the NBA to make it work for UK farmers’ interests”.

But he said the breakaway group had been “forced into forming our own organisation. Enough is enough”.

Flawed

“The NBA has been losing between £3500 and £4000 a month since April 2005, this [spending strategy] is flawed and without greater income stream current staff salaries are unsustainable,” said Mr Redpath.

He suggested surpluses generated by NBA activities, such as Beef Expo events, should be used on work other than lobbying.

“There is much we could be spending the money on to benefit the industry, such as research and promotional work with industry bodies.”

NBA chief executive Robert Forster rejected the criticism, saying that the spending strategy had been necessary to ensure NBA had been able to fully represent members’ interests.

“Questions have been raised over the NBA’s spending practices,” he said.

“The Scottish council would rather have seen NBA build reserves, rather than spend income.

“But with the industry in the state it is, the NBA board believes it is better to spend income lobbying, rather than stockpiling cash for a crisis.

The beef industry is already in crisis.”

Thankful

Commenting on the split, Mr Forster said he was thankful the former members would at last be out of the NBA’s “hair” and unable to further disrupt the organisation.

And, while the new body may take with it membership, he said the move would in fact make the Scottish region of the NBA a stronger, more focused group.

The SCA will be holding a meeting, open to all of Scotland’s beef farmers, next month to elect a managing council and office holders.

The meeting would focus on Scottish issues, promoting a product which sold on its own name while offering commitment to the beef industry in the future, the SCA said.

fwnews@rbi.co.uk