Representatives from the livestock boards of five farm unions, including the Irish Farmers Association, have held their first joint meeting for about 20 years.

The meeting which involved the NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru, Ulster Farmers Union and the IFA, took place on Wednesday afternoon (26 Oct).

Richard Haddock, NFU livestock board chairman, said it had proved to be a useful meeting, which they planned to repeat on a quarterly basis.

“It was the first time for about 20 years that there has been a get together of all the livestock representatives from all these unions.

“The fact we got together sends a clear message to the outside world that we are working together.”

Mr Haddock said the group agreed to several points during the meeting, including the fact that all were concerned about the adequacy of measures to stop foot-and-mouth reaching the EU.

It had also agreed that all members would push the EU Commission for an extension to the Over Thirty Month Scheme until open exports were resumed, he said.

The group had also agreed to seek a meeting with meat processor Larry Goodman.

“We also agreed that farmers need a minimum price of 200p/kg deadweight for the Christmas trade, give that the best producers need 195p/kg to cover their costs,” he said.

Mr Haddock said the groups had also agreed to continue to promote beef and lamb on the run up to Christmas.

A leaflet has been produced which the NFU will distribute to its membership in mid-November.