SEPT 6, 2010: The scale of the threat to the British dairy industry has been highlighted by the NFU.

UK beef farmers need ‘a clear price commitment’ from retailers if they are to remain in business, the NFU’s national livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh has warned. Mr Mackintosh said: “At 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.” 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. “Westmorland Show is the perfect venue for me to explain to them what the NFU is doing on their behalf. “I’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,” said Mr Mackintosh. Mr Mackintosh said consumer demand was strong but added retailers had failed to ensure long-term confidence in the supply chain. “While 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. “It 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,” said Mr Mackintosh.

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