Scottish meat body outlines plans for year ahead

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) chairman Jim McLaren has said the Scottish red meat industry has been undergoing a “chapter of change and opportunity”, in a thorough round-up of the past year.

Speaking at a media meeting on the future of the Scottish red meat industry, McLaren, spoke about QMS’s planned activities for the next year and consumer purchasing trends, as well announcing new members of the QMS board. McLaren also announced the industry would continue to fight the case for lost levy rates which, according to QMS, amounts to £1.6m each year.

Regarding the common agriculture policy (CAP), which has been criticised on the grounds of its costing, McLaren said: “The ongoing debate about the future shape of the CAP remains a source of uncertainty for those who work in our farming industry. Our abattoir operators also continue to endure extremely tight margins and consolidation, leaving worryingly little capital for investment. Notwithstanding the recent reduction in cattle prices, the fact is that current livestock prices and reduced livestock availability mean operating margins for Scottish processors remain extremely low.”

“It is vital that our processors have adequate supplies of livestock to achieve the critical mass our red meat supply chain needs to operate profitably and to ensure we are able to meet the continued increases in demand for quality red meat,” McLaren added.

Alongside announcing new appointments on the QMS board, McLaren also praised the “QMS industry development team, which is now sharply focused on grassroots activity to assist the industry to maximise efficiency and profitability”. QMS reported that grassroots activities, such as planning for profit, resilience and monitor farm initiatives, were delivering strongly for the industry.

The organisation intends on cutting back its budget for the following year from £5.8m for 2013/14 to £5.6m for 2014/15.

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