The Scottish beef sector has been boosted after two bodies announced plans to create a single specialist beef organisation to represent Scottish producers.
The National Beef Association and the Scottish Beef Cattle Association are forming an industry core group to get the best results from Common Agricultural Policy reforms.
The two beef bodies emerged from a meeting in Stirling saying they also wanted to work together to keep cow numbers up and ensure profitability in the industry.
The conclusion was the formation of an industry core group to represent the entire beef sector, from the farmer on the ground to meat processors and marketers.
The second half of the meeting concentrated on a way forward for the two bodies to merge and better represent the Scottish beef sector.
With both parties agreeing that Scottish beef farmers wanted a single body to represent them, a proposal was unanimously passed that a new, single body would be formed with the view to being federated to the national (UK) body in due course.
This decision took into consideration that the National Beef Association is currently being restructured and the future structure and management will take into account all regions in the UK and how they represent their members.
Jim Stewart, NBAS vice chairman, said: “The positive attitude of the people around the table gives me great hope for moving forward in the near future as a single voice for the beef industry in Scotland. The formation of a CAP group in the meantime is an example of how we can work together for the future.”
Scott Henderson, SBCA chairman, said: “The situation has taken a big step forward today, to give Scotland what it needs – a strong, single voice.”
Hamish McBean, NBA and NBAS chairman, who is in charge of overseeing the restructuring of the NBA, said: “It’s my job to check out the legalities and complexities of this strategy for the future, but it’s a really positive step forward and I’m delighted with events today.”
A second meeting scheduled before the end of January will form a strategy for the core group, with the remit of ensuring – post CAP reform – that the beef sector is profitable and current suckler cow numbers are maintained, if not increased.