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Confidence Boost Moves Meat Industry Forward

by 5m Editor
31 August 2011, at 8:39am

SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish red meat industry is collectively looking forward, with livestock producers in general showing more confidence than for many years, according to Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

Speaking at the launch of QMS’ Annual Review 2010/11 Mr McLaren said it was, however, important not to forget the difficult recent history the industry has endured.

“Without question, the reduction in livestock numbers in recent years has been a real worry for us all."

“However, the Scottish Red Meat Industry Profile launched at the Royal Highland Show reveals some encouraging signs, with the sucker beef and sow herds showing stabilisation and modest increase."

“The ewe flock is the exception and continues to slip despite the producer confidence identified by our sheep intentions survey at the end of last year.“

Pointing out that underpinning every activity QMS delivers is the organisation’s overall strategy of “shaping a sustainable and prosperous Scottish red meat industry“ Mr McLaren said had been very encouraged by the industry feedback he has received.

“Since joining QMS as chairman in April this year I have made a point of getting out and about and meeting representatives from throughout the red meat chain in Scotland.

"While it seems there is still a gap in the knowledge of some about the scope of the work QMS is undertaking – for example the extensive health and education programme we run – most of those I have met feel the organisation is working very hard and effectively on their behalf.“

Mr McLaren urged all those involved in the industry to take a pride in the fantastic story it has to tell – from welfare to animal health and efforts throughout the chain to continue to improve efficiency and, in so-doing, sustainability.

QMS Chief Executive ‘Uel Morton, observed that the organisation’s much needed income increase during the year ended 31 March 2011, had halted the steady erosion witnessed in recent years.

Two years ago the squeeze on resources, as a result of a nine year freeze in levy rates, had he said led to a situation where the organisation’s ability to deliver effectively on behalf of the industry was under threat of being seriously curtailed.

However, the increase in levy rates which came into force in April 2010 had allowed QMS to upweight the activities it undertakes on behalf of the Scottish red meat industry.

“The good news is that the recovery to our income means we have been able to reinstate twice yearly Scotch Lamb marketing campaigns."

“And were able to introduce an exciting support marketing campaign last autumn. Following the success of the 2010 debut of “Behind the Label“ which for the first time covered all three labels – Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork – we are revealing plans to build on that campaign,“ Mr Morton added.

During the year to 31 March 2011 QMS received 34.85m (compared with 33.85m in 2009/10; 33.9m in 2008/09 and 34.2m in 2007/08) in statutory red meat levy.

The organisation’s total income of 37.16m (2010 35.96m) increased by 20 per cent from 2010 mainly due to the increased statutory red eat levy rates (which came into effect on 1 April 2010) and increased grant income of 3222k received during the year.

Mr Morton also emphasised that delivering value for money remained core to every activity the organisation takes on behalf of the industry.

“Another important part of our strategy is securing additional financial support for the Scottish red meat industry. During the past year QMS secured almost one million pounds in grants for work on behalf of the industry."

“It is worth pointing out that for each one pound QMS spends on funding research and development projects 310 is invested as a result of staff working to lever financial support from other sources.“