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Beef Producers to Discuss UK Price Differential

27 November 2008

IRELAND - The Ulster Farmers’ Union has challenged meat plants to explain why cattle prices in Northern Ireland are up to 43 pence per kilogram less than in other parts of the UK.

The UFU has organised an open meeting for beef producers on Thursday evening, 27 November, in Loughry College, Cookstown, at 8.00pm. The Union has invited NI Meat Exporters Association (NIMEA) representatives to attend and explain to farmers why local beef prices are so low compared to other UK regions.

The UFU says that even compared to the lowest priced region of GB, Southern England, (as quoted by the Livestock and Meat Commission), local farmers are currently almost £250,00 worse off each week by slaughtering their cattle in local Northern Ireland meat plants.

UFU President Graham Furey said: “It is shocking to think that if local farmers had presented their steers, heifers and young bulls to meat plants in Southern England in recent weeks, they would have been more than £248,000 better off weekly, even though the South of England is the lowest cattle price region in GB. Farmers in Northern Ireland should be paid a fair price for their cattle and this clearly is not happening. We are producing Farm Quality Assured beef to the same standards as GB and we are selling our beef into the same UK retail market. The meat plants have a lot of explaining to do and I hope as many beef farmers as possible come to Loughry on Thursday evening so that the matter can be discussed openly with meat plant representatives."

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