06 July 1999
Brown confirms end of calf scheme

AGRICULTURE Minister Nick Brown has confirmed that the Calf Processing Aid Scheme will end on 31 July.

But, in a bid to balance the bad news, he has forecast that beef exports under the date-based export scheme would begin within weeks..

The calf scheme was started three years ago to compensate farmers for the ban on beef exports to European Union states and the ban on live calf exports for the continental veal market.

Some 2 million calves have been slaughtered under the subsidy scheme, and its end has been delayed on two previous occasions.

The Meat and Livestock Commission this week advised farmers to identify new markets for their veal before deciding to rear calves.

It believes some farmers will be able to make a living, and that they should target British food manufacturers who are currently importing beef from abroad.

Another option would be for farmers to sell the meat as pet food.

Mr Brown repeated the governments now-familiar position on the beef-on-the-bone ban in a speech at the Stoneleigh Show.

He said he was keen to see it lifted, but that could only be done when the medical advice was that it was safe to do so.

The agriculture minister also said that the long-awaited reported on the milk industry was “imminent”.