20 June 1997

Fruitless meeting

A RECENT meeting between NFU livestock committee leaders and Richard Cowan, head of MAFFs beef and sheep division, yielded nothing to restore morale in the beef sector.

Mr Cowan repeated his belief that beef prices would not return to previous levels. He also said the Treasury was resisting requests for compensation for farmers hit by green pound revaluations and was unlikely to agree to a top-up for the suckler cow premium.

It appeared likely that government would go ahead with its proposal to stop paying aid to renderers – a move which the NFU says could increase the cost of offal disposal in the UK to a point where intervention was unworkable.

MAFF would continue to press for intervention to be scaled back, but it would support the addition of fat class 4 bulls to the eligible list.

The one faint glimmer of hope from the meeting was a report that the burger chains which stopped using British beef were "reconsidering their position".