National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

Grazing AFUs granted a 24 month extension after NBA campaign

6th March 2017

Region: National

The National Beef Association (NBA) TB Committee has today announced a further success of their campaign to extend the notice period of Grazing Approved Finishing Units (AFUs) in cull areas.

The NBA committee has worked hard on behalf of all AFU owners, especially those who operate grazing AFUs, whose futures were in jeopardy due to proposed changes to TB cattle controls. After reviewing the latest evidence provided by the NBA TB committee Defra has granted a further extension of the notice period for grazing AFUs within the cull areas, moving from 12 months to 24 months.

After hearing of DEFRA’s plan to phase out grazing AFUs within cull areas without due notice, the NBA has been campaigning for a notice period for farmers running grazing AFUs. Initial lobbying by the NBA led to Defra granting grazing AFUs a notice period of 12 months before phasing them out.

Since then the NBA has pushed further, providing evidence to both Defra and APHA on behalf of AFU famers.  As a result the NBA has successfully obtained a further extension of the notice period to 24 months with a review to be carried out after 18 months.  Defra has agreed to extend the notice period from 12 to 24 months from the point at which the first licence to cull is issued and will shortly be informing grazing AFUs accordingly.

Grazing AFUs outside of cull areas will continue to be licenced.

Bill Harper, Chair of the NBA TB Committee and Board Member welcomes the change of policy and the extension of the notice period to 24 months stating:

“AFUs with grazing provide a vital outlet for stock from farms which find themselves restricted to a TB breakdown. They are essential to finish these restricted stock, in particular native breeds that would struggle to be finished indoors and also cattle that supply into schemes which demand that the animals have a grazing period.

Without AFUs there would be no market for TB restricted cattle and they would become worthless, leading the serious cashflow problems for farmers

AFUs with grazing are subject to rigorous biosecurity controls and testing regimes in order to minimise any threat to other cattle and wildlife. This includes specific fencing and statutory 90 day testing.  AFUs have always shown a low incidence of reactors and are essential to ensuring the industry can exist in areas with a TB problem. We are pleased with todays result, however the NBA will continue to lobby on behalf of grazing AFUs for a further extension to the notice period, to 48 months.”

The NBA is a member led charitable organisation with a key focus on the Beef Industry. For more information on the NBA or how to join up and support campaigns such as these, please visit the NBA website