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NFU continues fight for common sense livestock movement rules

The potential impact of changes to livestock movement rules following the Macdonald Red Tape Review was high on the agenda this week when the NFU livestock board met with officials from Defra.

The Defra proposal to remove the non-electronic, batch tag from use in slaughter lambs was also discussed with the board estimating that this could cost farmers who currently use the tag around 55p per lamb extra to upgrade to an electronic slaughter tag.

Charles Sercombe, NFU livestock board chairman, said: “While we would all like to see a simpler system of livestock movement controls, we fear some of the current proposals have the potential to actually increase red tape and will impact on the way farmers run their businesses.

“The removal of the non-electronic tag for slaughter lambs will also come as a further cost to industry. The NFU has always been clear that the tag choice should be driven by the market and the demands of the buyer rather than by regulation, but we will examine every solution to minimise the cost on farming businesses. This meeting comes on the back of a high-level EU meeting earlier this week in Brussels where we again made the case for tolerance on sheep EID.”

Meanwhile, the NFU livestock board has announced four new appointed members, all livestock farmers, who bring with them a wealth of experience. They include Ed Green, a beef finisher from Somerset studying for a Nuffield Scholarship on beef market, Richard Findlay, a beef and sheep farmer from the North York Moors, David Raine, Cumbrian farmer who has represented NSA, EBLEX and AFS at board level, and Steve Conisbee, a farmer and butcher with farm shops and a catering business in Surrey.

Mr Sercombe, setting out future board priorities, stressed that the key work of the board was to ensure a profitable and sustainable sector that encourages the next generation to enter the industry.

“Even at current prices, it’s clear that margins remain tight in the industry and there are many issues still to address, not least the impacts on our businesses of the TB eradication programme and CAP reform.

“We want to see an efficiently functioning supply chain and aim to build relationships with all parts of the chain including the customer and other industry organisations to deliver this goal. The first step is a report which will be launched at the Livestock Event at the NEC in September, which will set out the NFU vision for the beef industry and the roles we believe that all in the chain must play. I look forward to building on this document with the industry in the coming year.”


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