Exports and specialisms mean beef prospects 'remain positive'

UK - The North-east of Scotland is the very heartland of beef production.
calendar icon 1 March 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
Producers have taken some hard knocks over the past decade, but the outlook is now much more encouraging, provided that farmers adopt a sound business strategy. That was the clear message yesterday from David Douglas, head of rural business at Clydesdale Bank, when he addressed farmers at the annual Royal Northern Agricultural Society's spring show at Thainstone, near Inverurie.

Douglas, who has a long background in farming, said: "Overall prospects for Scottish beef remain positive. This is based on the sustained quality of our product; the growing awareness among UK consumers of the importance of farm assurance and increasing evidence of support from shoppers for locally sourced food. Continuing progress in developing export business is also helping to expand market opportunities."

But the fact remains that very few producers can make a profit without factoring in the new single farm payment. Douglas is of the opinion that farmers are well aware of this and are making appropriate adjustments.

He said: "It's early days, but people are now thinking long-term. What really cheers me today is the mood of optimism, albeit slightly cautious. If farmers enjoy what they are doing then they tend to do it better."

The prophets of doom reckoned that the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy would result in a massive reduction in beef production.

Source: The Scotsman
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