Livestock farmers are being urged to demonstrate confidence in the future for British Meat at this autumn’s primestock shows, despite concern of changes to EU subsidy support and falling farm income.

“It is vitally important farmers remain confident and focused on producing and promoting top quality British meat,” says George Young, chairman of the National Primestock Show and Sale.

“With questions being raised over the quality, traceability and safety of some imported meat and meat products, consumers – and retailers and caterers who serve them – must be told that nobody can afford to put a discounted price tag on what UK farmers offer – quality and assurance start to finish,” he says.

Livestock farmers are often caught in the trap of supplying price-sensitive markets that can draw on large volumes of low value, imported product with ease.

“However, it’s essential that a true value is given to British meat not only reflecting its quality, but the safety it offers to consumers,” says Mr Young.

Acknowledging the financial uncertainty faced by farmers currently with the transition from production-based subsidies to the new Single Farm Payment, the NPS committee has frozen all exhibitors’ fees for the show that takes place on November 19/20 at Stafford Showground in a determined effort to eliminate any extra pressure on farm finances.

“It is also re-assuring that sponsors have once again signalled their support for the livestock sector by offering a combined prize fund approaching £16,000 for which the show society is very grateful,” says Mr Young.

These include Agco, Agri-Lloyd International, auctioneers, breed societies, banks and – new for 2005 – the Traditional Breeds Meat Marketing Company.

Pen space has been increased for this year’s event – that remains the only purpose-built facility that can showcase livestock paraded in the ring alongside chilled carcasses – thanks to continued investment by the show society.

Schedules have been posted out and entries for all sections close on October 19th.

“We can expect a busy weekend schedule for this year’s Primestock and farmers will once again be putting on a magnificent display; of that I’m confident,” says Mr Young.