Scottish beef farmers agree on merger

Scottish beef farmers have agreed a “unanimous strategy” for creating a single body to campaign on behalf of the industry.

NBA Scotland and the Scottish Beef Cattle Association (SBCA) met last week (11 January) at UA’s Stirling Mart to discuss CAP reform and the possible merger of the two groups.

Members from both groups were joined by Stuart Ashworth of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Ian Anderson of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW). They concluded that an industry core group, including farmers, processors and marketers, should be formed to represent the entire beef sector on CAP reform.

They also discussed a strategy for merging NBA Scotland and SBCA, and unanimously passed a proposal that a new, single body should be formed, with a view to being federated to the national (UK) body in due course.

Jim Stewart, NBAS vice-chairman, said: “The positive attitude of the people around the table today gives me great hope for moving forward in the near future as a single voice for the beef industry in Scotland. The formation of CAP group in the meantime is an example of how we can work together for the future.”

Scott Henderson, SBCA chairman, said: “The situation has taken a big step forward today, to give Scotland what it needs – a strong single voice.”

Hamish McBean, NBA and NBAS chairman and the man in charge of overseeing the restructuring of the NBA, said: “It’s my job to check out the legalities and complexities of this strategy for the future, but it’s a really positive step forward and I’m delighted with events today.”

A second meeting will now be held before the end of the month to form a strategy for the CAP reform core group, with the remit of ensuring, post-CAP reform, that the beef sector is profitable and current suckler cow numbers are maintained, if not increased.

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