The National Beef Association is looking for agreement that new,
more friendly, approaches to livestock production can be adopted
now that the world has woken up to the risk of imminent food shortages.
It is worried that farmers trying to respond by raising
output through increased production efficiency will be hampered
by an outdated CAP and continued misplaced emphases from governments,
and opinion formers, on secondary, non-production, issues such
as those found in the recently approved Rural Development Programmes
which have had most of the farmer friendly measures removed in
favour of environmental or rural community interests.
It also says that among farmers’ biggest concerns are steadfastly rising
feed, fuel, and fertiliser costs – which are driven by the same pressures
that are creating the widening gap between global food consumption and production.
“No one thinks cattle feed, diesel or fertiliser will ever become cheaper
or doubts that well managed increases in agricultural production will become
even more important in the months and years to come,” explained NBA director,
“But as the organised, and sustainable, production of more food, without
jeopardising soil, landscape and water protection, becomes increasingly urgent
it is also clear that if farming is to deliver everything the country requires
it cannot be burdened with avoidable production costs or unnecessary restraints
on its output.”
According to the NBA this means an urgent revision of national, and EU, food
production policies is needed and that any over-zealous emphases on non-agricultural
activity that were introduced in the 2005 CAP reforms, when food supply security
was not an issue, need to be removed from the rule book.
“The Association is not saying that every environmental protection restraint
introduced over the last decade should be jettisoned,” said Ms Haywood.
“But is it is saying there has been a massive swing in global attitudes
to food since the last big policy decisions were made and there is now a clear
need for a thorough review during which re-alignment takes into account new national,
and global, priorities.”
“Some micro solutions, like the feeding of more food industry bi-products
and less cereal to cattle, or more concentration on grazing to ease back on fuel
and fertiliser uptake, will help farmers to cut back on cost.”
“However bigger decisions covering areas of land management that are currently
regarded by non-farmers as inviolate will be needed if stocking rates are to
find their new optimum.”
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