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Livestock Farmers Await News From Government

27 May 2011

UK - The Tenant Farmers Association has urged the Government not to delay any further plans to implement a range of decisions affecting livestock farmers.

Speaking prior to this year's Beef Expo event at the Newark Showground, TFA National Vice-Chairman, Stephen Wyrill said: "Livestock farmers have suffered greatly over recent years from the ravages of disease in their herds and flocks, over-regulation and low prices.

"For tenant livestock farmers, who do not own the land they farm and rely for a significant amount of their net worth upon the value of their livestock, the past few years have been particularly difficult. However, we are on the threshold of some major Government decisions which could turn things around.

“By far the biggest of these decisions, at least for beef and dairy farmers, relates to the control of bovine TB.

"For too long we have allowed this disease to rampage out of control causing immense suffering and hardship to many. By using only cattle to cattle control measures, without being able to control TB infected wildlife, we have been effectively fighting a losing battle with one arm tied behind our back.

"Although notwithstanding some opposition, control of TB infected wildlife has advanced in Wales, in England we are still waiting for it to get off first base. Effective wildlife control will take some time to take effect and the longer we delay the more difficult finding solutions will be," said Mr Wyrill.

“The TFA was very pleased with the conclusions reached by Richard McDonald's Better Regulation Task Force which highlighted a number of key recommendations for improving the way in which livestock movements are regulated.

"The Government has signalled that it believes that there is merit in what has been recommended but wants to investigate further before making a decision.

"These issues have been pored over for years and we therefore do not see what is to be gained by a period of further reflection. Implementation is what we need. At the same time, The Food Standards Authority should reverse its decision to levy an annual charge of £25 million on the farming industry for its inefficient meat inspection system," said Mr Wyrill.

“There has been much said about the need for a food industry ombudsman. The Government has said that it will introduce a statutory adjudicator to oversee the Grocery Supply Chain Code Practice but has delayed its implementation. Again, with the argument won, we do not understand why we cannot now move to implementing what is needed to ensure that primary producers receive fair returns and fair treatment from processors and big retailers," said Mr Wyrill.

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