31 March 2000
Beef farmers hail end of OTMS limit

By FWi staff

BEEF farmers have hailed Tony Blairs intention to remove the weight limit for older cattle slaughtered under the Over Thirty Months Scheme.

The much-criticised weight limit, which restricts the amount of compensation farmers receive under anti-BSE measures, will now be abolished.

The National Farmers Union described removal of the limit as merely a rubber-stamp exercise for Brussels once the government has applied to remove it.

Robert Forster, chief executive of the National Beef Association, described the announcement that the limit would go as great news.

“We have pressed for this for years. It shows that the government has started to understand the problems of the beef industry,” he said.

He applauded the farm unions for the pressure they had brought to bear and praised the grassroots farmers for protesting to highlight their plight.

Beef producers will also receive 22 million in agrimonetary aid to offset the effects of the strong Pound, which has reduced subsidies from Brussels.

“I welcome the money because before it the whole European market was hopelessly lop-sided,” said Mr Forster.

“But the 22m falls far short of the 57m that could and should have been paid to give us parity with other European farmers.”