4 September 1998

Ferry directors refute criticism

FARMERS Ferry directors have hit back against criticism of their plans to restart live calf exports once the beef ban is lifted.

Some industry leaders last week said that asking dairy farmers to fund calf shipments by giving money to the ferry service was misguided and premature while the export ban was still in force (News, Aug 28). But a Farmers Ferry statement sent to farmers weekly claimed enlightened milk producers were looking for ways to keep all their marketing options open for the future.

"Many fellow farmers are disappointed that some of those leading the livestock industry seem to only be capable of negative comment," said the statement.

"Perhaps it is only those in close contact with their members who fully appreciate the plight of many farmers. It is a shame that even now some farming groups and their representatives continue to snipe at the initiative."

Farmers Ferry secretary David Owen claims be in contact with Continental buyers willing to pay up to £200 for a two-week-old live calf. The calf processing scheme, which ends in November, pays farmers £78 a calf.

&#8226 Farmers Ferry transported 23,147 sheep to the Continent in its first full week of operation. The company quietly completed the buy-out of shipping firm Brindie two weeks ago. &#42