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Nick Brown slams MAFF officials

14 May 1999
Nick Brown slams MAFF officials

AGRICULTURE minister Nick Brown has publicly admonished two Ministry of Agriculture officials who offered business advice to the farming industry …more…


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Nick Brown slams MAFF officials

14 May 1999
Nick Brown slams MAFF officials

by FWi staff

Agriculture minister Nick Brown has publicly admonished two Ministry of Agriculture officials who offered business advice to the farming industry.

Mr Brown said it was not for officials to make statements about the sheep sector along the lines of comments made by Richard Cowan and Mike Roper.

Mr Roper, a MAFF meat trade advisor, told hill-farmers in March they should cut down on production because “hill flocks are causing problems with meat quality.”

“It may be that the most appropriate production for hill sheep would be managing the environment,” he told delegates at the British Society of Animal Science conference at Scarborough.

Mr Cowan, MAFF head of beef and sheep, outraged sheep farmers last week by saying they should not expect to continue to rely on exporting 40% of their animals.

But Mr Brown yesterday publicly rebuked the two men, saying it was not up to civil servants to make such statements.

It is up to the industry to get together and make judgements about the size of the market and how to match that with supply, he told The Herald.

Mr Browns comments came at the end of a session of the House of Commons agriculture committee where he faced questions over European Union farm policy.

In answer to further questioning, Mr Brown said support payments to hill farmers were currently under review.

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