A promise to work with the industry to reverse the decline in cattle numbers was given yesterday by Scotland’s rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing.
Speaking as he opened the country’s biennial beef event at Oldmeldrum, he said he was extremely conscious of the challenges facing by the sector but, while he had been in talks with the industry, he was not yet in a position to make an announcement over proposed measures to help reverse the long-standing decline in numbers.
However, speaking later, a broad hint was given that an enhanced suckler calf scheme could be one avenue under consideration for providing extra funding for the industry when he said: “It would be logical to introduce a scheme which the industry views as being the most effective way forward.”
Responding to the scale of recent EU support for the Irish beef sector, which has seen €100 million of emergency funding allocated to producers there by the EU and Irish government, Mr Ewing said he continues to press the case for more funding for Scotland’s beef sector with the UK Government.
He said that while Defra secretary Michael Gove had indicated he accepted the need for additional support in the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit, the fact that was now looking frighteningly close meant it is time to put words into action.
SBA chairman Neil McCorkindale confirmed industry talks with the Scottish Government had been pointing towards an enhancement of the beef suckler calf scheme.