23 January 1999
Calf scheme likely to end in March

AGRICULTURE minister Nick Brown is unlikely to extend the calf processing scheme beyond its 29 March deadline, despite pressure from the farming industry.

The government line is that the scheme is under review, but MAFF officials privately admit that it is unlikely to be extended again.

The Federation of Fresh Meat Wholesalers (FFMW) believes the scheme will come to an end in two months time.

Peter Scott, FFMW secretary, is convinced that MAFF has neither the funds nor the inclination to extend the scheme.

He is keen for farmers to fatten the types of calves currently being slaughtered.

“Last year we had to import 164,000t of manufacturing beef to meet domestic demand,” he said.

“If the scheme was stopped, then we could meet demand with domestically produced beef,”

The government originally intended to scrap the scheme on 31 November last year.

But, after intensive lobbying from the farming industry, Mr Brown announced an extension through to the end of the financial year.