The National Beef Association welcomes Michael Gove MP, Defra Secretary of State
16th June 2017
The National Beef Association, (NBA) would like to congratulate Michael Gove, MP on his appointment as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on behalf of their members.
Chris Mallon, Chief Executive of the NBA stated, “I look forward to working closely with Michael Gove to ensure the best possible decisions are made for the British Beef Industry and that these decisions are future proofed to protect the industry. It is positive step that we will have a strong Brexiteer at the heart of discussions, who will be committed to forging the best solutions for the industry and will be bold in achieving this.
With the uncertainty around rural payments and export markets at the forefront of our primary producers’ concerns it is important that we work together to ensure that the Food and Farming policy will be beneficial to producers and consumers alike; reassuring producers that they will be supported in the efficient production of quality UK produce, and give consumers the confidence that UK farming will continue to deliver safe, high quality and sustainable food at a fair price.
British Beef production is only 75% self-sufficient therefore BREXIT gives us all a fantastic opportunity to grow production for our home market, something we must promote. We, as an industry, must also emphasise the importance of cattle within the UK landscape and infrastructure, managing the environment for people to enjoy and utilising land that cannot be used for cropping to produce a quality protein for the UK consumer which is also high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and vital vitamins and minerals.
We must also campaign to ensure continued access to our EU export markets and the free access of European labour force which is the backbone of many of our red meat processing plants.
The NBA will be calling on the Government to support our primary producers though the implementation of compulsory legislation that will ensure greater transparency in pricing for producers. This is high on our agenda, in particular the enforcement of a compulsory Grocery Code Adjudicator, which will prevent unfair trading practises, such as changes to payment grids without due notice. Such practises leave the producer at an unfair disadvantage, tightening margins and subsequently knocking business progression.
Bovine TB continues to threaten the UK’s cattle industry, posing further restrictions to those farming in infected areas. It is important that we work together to deliver practical and feasible solutions, allowing farms to continue trading whilst tackling the disease head on. The NBA will continue to campaign for an extension of the notice period for AFUs in cull areas, businesses that are vital in providing an outlet to cattle from the dairy herd that can only be finished in such units, and without them would instead have to be culled.
Britain’s beef industry is renowned for its high health and welfare standards something the NBA is eager to promote and uphold. The NBA is supportive of the industry led BVD eradication scheme and will continue to encourage the government to move to implement compulsory legislation to eradicate the disease from England, a challenge we feel is achievable and a positive step for the health and welfare of the British cattle herd.
With the announcement of Mr Gove’s appointment, we hope to tackle these challenges with renewed enthusiasm and I look forward to addressing these key challenges with the new Defra Secretary of State at the earliest opportunity.”