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Beef Sector Hangs on Sustainable Farmgate Prices

27 January 2009
National Farmers Union

UK - NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh has addressed over 200 beef finishers in Portlaoise, Republic of Ireland, about the current situation regarding market conditions in the British beef sector.

The meeting was part of the NFU livestock team's ongoing commitment and campaign to ensure sustainable farmgate prices within the beef industry so beef producers have the confidence to invest and the uncertainty generated by farmgate price volatility is minimised.


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"Meeting with the Irish farmers highlighted how pressures on farmgate prices can knock producer confidence"
NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh

Mr Mackintosh said: "As well as our ongoing discussions with UK retailers and processors about the need for sustainable farmgate prices, I believe that it is vitally important that we understand the wider beef market. The UK is only 79 per cent self-sufficient in terms of beef, so we need to fully understand the pressures facing not only producers in the UK, but producers elsewhere. Consumers want to buy British beef and we want to make sure that confidence in the beef sector allows producers to make the investment necessary to ensure British beef is on the supermarket shelves in the future.

"Meeting with the Irish farmers highlighted how pressures on farmgate prices can knock producer confidence. The present Irish situation is unsustainable and it may mean that producers are driven out of the market. We are presently seeing a more sustainable and stable farmgate beef price in England and Wales which is helping to improve producer confidence and is essential to the future of the sector."

The meeting, which was chaired by IFA president Padraig Walshe, was also addressed by IFA livestock chairman Michael Doran and Board Bia representative Gerard Brickley. Mr Doran told the meeting that the clear message from the IFA was that present price pressures on Irish farmers were unsustainable and it was essential producers sold at a price that was above their costs of production.

The meeting also discussed the issue of labelling and Mr Mackintosh made it clear the NFU livestock board believed there must be clear labelling of product origin so consumers can make clear and informed choices.

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