FORMER American President John F. Kennedy famously once said; “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.”
Unfortunately the sentiment of this statement continues to resonate with many of our beef and lamb producers today.
The UFU Beef and Lamb Committee met recently and discussed the market situation at length, including the very real issues currently affecting farmers.
Serious concerns were raised about the knock on effect of this year’s bad weather against steadily rising input costs and ultimately the reality of producing below the cost of production.
Ironically, the market economics would indicate that our producers should be in a fairly strong position as local cattle supplies remain tight with numbers down 10% for the first 6 months of 2012 compared with 2011.
There is also a favourable supply and demand climate within the global context and yet our beef prices witnessed a 14p/kg drop in July and have remained around 314-316p/kg for U3 grades ever since.
Meanwhile UK prices have held up and the 20-40p/kg differential remains, which is wholly unjustifiable and continues to infuriate our producers.
Representatives from the UFU Beef and Lamb Committee have met with the major processors and made the reality of the situation abundantly clear; factories will be unable to guarantee a future supply of cattle if they do not start paying a sustainable price above the cost of production to their primary producers.
This week the UFU also attended a meeting hosted by the Irish Farmers Association to jointly address the issue and both organisations will continue to put pressure on the need for a sustainable return for farmers.
Finally, the dysfunction which exists within the supply chain has been a hot topic on the UFU agenda and must be rectified; otherwise there will be no food security.
Ultimately there is a need for both corporate responsibility and social responsibility towards the primary suppliers of food.
Meat Trade News Daily Supporting British Pig Farmers
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