UFU hit out at NIMEA over penalties and prices

Wednesday, 26 February, 2014

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has hit out at the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters’ Association (NIMEA) following the announcement that they intend to introduce a £150 penalty from 1st April on out of spec cattle, which will include cattle with more than four residencies.  

UFU Beef and Lamb Chairman Robert Davidson said: “The recent announcement by NIMEA to introduce a £150 penalty for out of spec cattle, including those with more than four residencies, has really angered local beef farmers. When NIMEA first came to us in the Autumn about the residency requirement they were offering an additional 4p/kg bonus incentive for cattle with four residencies or fewer, but now this has all of a sudden transformed into a very substantial penalty.  It is totally unacceptable for the goal posts to keep changing like this. The mood on the ground amongst beef farmers is really at an all-time low with beef prices having fallen so considerably in recent weeks and this penalty threat just adds insult to injury.  The houses are still full of cattle and with this being an expensive time for feeding cattle, producers simply cannot afford to be hit with an additional penalty on top of the decline in prices.”

Robert continued: “The UFU understands that NIMEA met with the Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill this week and that she has also publically called for them to re-think their actions on penalties and pricing structures.  Work is on-going collectively to highlight the gravity of the situation as beef farmers in Northern Ireland feel totally disillusioned with the industry at the present time.  We need more commitment from our supposed supply chain partners immediately to address the issues facing beef producers, particularly if the sectoral growth targets of our Agri-Food Strategy Board are to be delivered.”