UFU host meeting with NIMEA and beef industry stakeholders to discuss proposed penalties

Friday, 7 March, 2014

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has hosted a meeting with beef industry representatives to discuss the proposed penalties on cattle with more than four residencies and the final farm residency period requirement. Representatives from UFU, the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association (NIMEA), the Northern Ireland Livestock Auctioneers Association (NILAA), NIAPA, NBA, FFA, and the SDA Support Group attended the meeting.

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “There has been strong opposition to the actions of the meat plants in relation to imposing penalties on cattle with more than four residencies and the requirement that cattle must reside at their final residency for at least 30 days and the meeting was an opportunity to ‘clear the air’ on these issues. Farmers cannot understand the rationale for suddenly bringing in a penalty on cattle with more than four residencies, particularly as such a high percentage of cattle in Northern Ireland (95%) currently meet this specification, and not all meat plant customers require it. Also, the final farm residency period requirement further complicates matters. The past few winters have been difficult for farmers trying to finish cattle and to implement these penalties now with very little warning, when cattle have already been bought, will leave an extremely bad taste in farmers’ mouths whose businesses simply cannot withstand this punitive action. 

“I believe NIMEA have gone away from the meeting with a very clear understanding of the farmers’ position and the overall feeling of the industry. We have asked NIMEA to go back to their members and to relay the strong feelings on the ground and have encouraged them to rethink their proposals. The ball is now in their court and we are waiting on their response.”