Breeders convinced good times lie ahead for the meat industry

UK - Farmers and cattle breeders attending the annual Scottish Winter Fair at Ingliston - the major show of prime stock north of the border - are convinced that better times lie ahead for Scottish agriculture.
calendar icon 23 November 2006
clock icon 2 minute read

The standard of exhibits in the cattle and sheep classes was simply superb, and a clear indication that farmers are much more clearly focused on real market requirements rather than piling on kilos of fat on to their animals.
Indeed, there is an argument, according to Jim Robertson of the Galashiels-based Forth Meats, that the trend has gone a shade too far.
He commented: "There are a lot of great cattle here, but we have to remember that it is eating quality that gets customers back on a repeated basis into the butchers' shops. We need some fat for that."
There was no Scottish Executive ministerial presence at Ingliston, but the considered opinion of farmers was that their businesses are set for better times.
David Raine, the UK chairman of the National Sheep Association who farms extensively in Cumbria, sounded distinctly envious of the rapport between the Scottish agricultural and food sectors and Holyrood.
He said: "It is very noticeable that producers in Scotland have been able to persuade politicians of the importance of the land-based industries to the overall economy far better than in England. We find great difficulty in making the same constructive arguments."
A similar theme was pronounced by John Cameron, a former president of NFU Scotland and now the driving force behind the fledgling Scottish Beef Cattle Association, which earlier this year severed all links with the UK-wide National Beef Association.
Cameron said: "Since devolution and the establishment of our parliament in Edinburgh, we now have, and have taken, the chance, to pursue different policies that suit Scotland.
"We have our critics, but in just a few months we have established close links with a wide range of similar, and devolved organisations, not the least of which has been the close contact with the Scottish Executive's Environment and Rural Affairs Department. We talk the same language and understand each other."


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