Ulster Farmers’ Union hits out at meat plants for drop in beef prices

Thursday, 19 December, 2013

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has hit out at meat plants for dropping beef prices in the run up to the holiday season. The comments were made following the UFU Beef and Lamb Policy Committee meeting earlier this week.

UFU Beef and Lamb Chairman Robert Davidson said; “Beef farmers are not feeling particularly festive at the moment as meat plants continue to pull prices for beef. It is definitely scrooge-like, especially at a time of year when the cost of keeping cattle is at its highest and many farmers are feeling disillusioned as they struggle with high input costs and uncertainty around how the new CAP will affect their businesses. While we appreciate that there is presently a surplus of Polish beef affecting the whole of the EU as attempts are made to redirect this beef from its former markets which have recently been lost, the situation is further exacerbated by the fact that it would appear the goal posts have changed with regards to the pricing structure for cattle. 

“Primary producers are the foundation of Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry. For the industry to reach its full potential primary producers must be profitable along with our other partners in the supply chain and the UFU consistently emphasised this throughout the NI Agri-Food Strategy Board (AFSB) meetings. The AFSB has set ambitious growth targets for the red meat industry, however today’s problems need to be addressed with urgency in order for the AFSB vision to be realised.”

The UFU continues to work to see this significant issue addressed. Representatives have already met with NIMEA to discuss Polish beef imports and the increase in young bull penalties. The UFU has also written to the Agriculture Minister, the Chair of the Agriculture Committee and the Finance Minister pressing them to ensure that government food contracts are using local beef.