SEPT 6, 2010: The scale of the threat to the British dairy industry has been highlighted by the NFU.
UK beef farmers need â€˜a clear price commitmentâ€™ from retailers if they are to remain in business, the NFUâ€™s national livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh has warned. Mr Mackintosh said: â€œAt current prices beef producers will be unable to afford to produce beef this winter and some are starting to seriously question their future in the industry.â€ The NFU man will travel to Brussels later this week to discuss the sustainability of the beef industry at a Copa-Cogeca meeting for EU farm unions and cooperatives. He will then rush back to meet farmers at the Westmorland Show on Thursday (September 9) to discuss a plan of action. â€œWestmorland Show is the perfect venue for me to explain to them what the NFU is doing on their behalf. â€œIâ€™m sure they will also have some good ideas themselves about what should be done to remedy this worrying situation and I will be all ears,â€ said Mr Mackintosh. Mr Mackintosh said consumer demand was strong but added retailers had failed to ensure long-term confidence in the supply chain. â€œWhile retail sales are up on the year this has been driven by promotions and the retailers need to look at ways to re-balance the carcase and ensure producers receive more market share. â€œIt is imperative that the supply chain gives the right signals through long-term commitments to a sustainable price. This is the only way to give producers the confidence to go forward, go to the expense of finishing cattle this winter, and deliver what the market demands,â€ said Mr Mackintosh.