Support higher levies to promote beef – SNFU
SCOTTISH farming leaders are urging beef producers to support increased promotion levies for the Meat and Livestock Commission.
Scottish NFU vice-president George Lyon told the annual meeting of the unions Ayr area that the MLC had budgeted for £15m over three years to get good, hard information across to the public.
"But we must take it further. We must support that effort by putting our hands in our pockets and use increased levies to fund greater promotion," said Mr Lyon.
"To have any future, we must promote our product vigorously in the UK market. We must fight to reopen the export trade. And we must work to balance and stabilise the EU beef market," he added.
"We must be prepared to make an increased contribution towards promotion. To believe the funds for marketing our way out of the current crisis can be found within existing budgets is unrealistic.
"We must give promotion a chance, at least for one year, with an adequate budget. The alternative is to accept a permanent reduction of 20% in demand and the consequences for both beef and dairy herds."
Mr Lyon warned that government support would not continue at present levels. The calf slaughter and OTMS schemes were short term. "Intervention buying will also come to an end because it will be impossible to sell that meat on world markets. We are looking towards 1m tonnes in cold store by the end of this year. That cannot continue," he said.
"We are in the run up to an election and support is easier to secure. But once the election is over, it will not matter which Party is in power, it will be very difficult to continue the levels of support we have at the moment."
Quick agreement on a certified herd scheme was also unlikely.
George Lyon – "Producers must be prepared to make an increased contribution towards promotion."