News
5th Jun

2014

Media Release No. 08 – Beef Farmers Unfairly Bear the Brunt of Market Downturn

Beef Farmers Unfairly Bear the Brunt of Market Downturn

The Tenant Farmers Association reports the anger of its members following news from EBLEX that at a time when beef prices are facing downward pressure, processors and retailers have increased their margins by 23 per cent while farmers have experienced at least a 13 per cent drop in price.

TFA National Chairman Stephen Wyrill said, “Everyone accepts that when you are operating within an open market environment prices will go up and down.  However it is the primary producer that takes a kicking every time we see a downward pressure on price with the processors and retailers forcing farmers to take a lower price whilst protecting their own margins.”

“Processors are calling for a long-term strategy but they appear to be suffering from short-term memory loss.  It was not very long ago that the industry was rocked by the “horse gate” scandal which proved to be caused by contaminated supplies of beef from abroad.  With the high standards of production at home we were able to guarantee to consumers that their meat would be uncontaminated.  Once again, processors have been switching to cheaper supplies of imported beef not least from Eastern Europe.  Lessons clearly have not been learnt,” said Mr Wyrill.

“Farmers too need to consider what we can do to make us more resilient in such circumstances.  Sadly, a reduction in the use of the live ring and a reliance upon direct supply contracts has left us vulnerable to processors at times like this.  If processors had to rely more on sourcing the product through the live ring they would be less able to force producer prices down and we would be better able to secure fairer returns to all parties in the sector,” said Mr Wyrill.

“I am all for having an open discussion but we need to move beyond words into sustainable actions.  The speed with which the processing sector appears to have forgotten the trauma of the horse gate scandal does not give us much cause for hope but we are prepared to try,” said Mr Wyrill.

end

Ref:  MR08

Date: 04 June 2014

Notes for Editors:

For further information contact Stephen Wyrill on 07754 582600 or Jenna Kirkpatrick TFA Communications and Events Co-ordinator on 0118 930 6130 or 07887 777157.

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