Strong representation from both NBA Scotland and SBCA resulted in a very positive meeting today covering two critical issues.
The first half of the meeting, held at UA’s Stirling Mart, had a sole focus on CAP reform and the potential impact on the Scottish beef sector. Discussions covered many elements of the current EU proposals and were facilitated by the NBAS and SBCA farmer-members being joined by Stuart Ashworth of Quality Meat Scotland and Ian Anderson of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers.
The conclusion was the formation of an industry core group to represent the entire beef sector, from the farmer on the ground to meat processors and marketers. A second meeting before the end of the month will form a strategy for the 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.
Given the positive nature of NBAS and SBCA being jointly involved in this CAP core group, the second half of the meeting concentrated on a way forward for the two bodies to merge and better represent the Scottish beef sector.
With both parties agreeing that Scottish beef farmers wanted a single body to represent them, a proposal was unanimously passed that a new, single body would be formed with the view to being federated to the national (UK) body in due course.
This decision took into consideration that the NBA is currently being restructured, and the future structure and management will take into account all regions in the UK and how they represent their members.
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.”
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