NFU and NFU Cymru have today asked Farming Minister George Eustice for an urgent meeting to discuss the worsening crisis in the UK beef market.
Minette Batters and John Davies, the Presidents of the organisations, have called for the meeting after the beef price across finished and store cattle has plummeted to well below the cost of production in recent months.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “This prolonged period of low cattle prices is extremely alarming and is causing huge pressure on farming businesses.
“The current price that farmers are receiving for their cattle is completely unsustainable and falls well below the cost of production. This is simply unacceptable. The returns to farmers must enable this industry to remain sustainable or we will start to see people leaving the industry.
“I will be asking the Minister how Defra and other Government departments plan to investigate the beef sector and address its transparency and fairness. If unfair practices are found to pervade this market then they must be dealt with.
“The criminally low prices we are seeing today in this and other sectors could also be made worse by a no-deal Brexit at the end of October, which would see British farmers lose access to their largest trading partner. It is critical that the Government address these issues urgently before chasing down widespread reform of agricultural support.”
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “We have reached crisis point in the beef market. Let’s be clear, the sustainability of specialist beef production is at stake here. Farmers frustration at the operation of the marketplace is at boiling point.
“The UK Government has a duty to ensure fair and functioning supply chains and we ask that they investigate this as a matter of urgency.
“I look forward to meeting the Minister with Minette to discuss this critical issue for our members as a matter of urgency.”