DAERA investment in red meat sector required

DAERA investment in red meat sector required

Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) beef and lamb chairman, Crosby Cleland, says Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, UK (DAERA) must invest in the AFBI and CAFRE beef facilities to help drive the sector forward. The comments were made in the wake of the successful ‘Progressive Beef Production’ conference at Greenmount.

Red meat makes a big contribution to our agri-food industry and the local economy. To maintain this, we need investment in research facilities and projects, linked to effective mechanisms to distribute this knowledge to farmers. AFBI and CAFRE have played a crucial role over the years, and we want to see this continue and improve,“Red meat makes a big contribution to our agri-food industry and the local economy. To maintain this, we need investment in research facilities and projects, linked to effective mechanisms to distribute this knowledge to farmers. AFBI and CAFRE have played a crucial role over the years, and we want to see this continue and improve,” said Mr Cleland.

CAFRE’s sheep facilities recently received significant investment.  This will bring immediate benefits for students, but in the longer term it will also help farmers keen to adopt new ideas and technology to drive their businesses forward.  Mr Cleland said the UFU now wanted to see a similar commitment to investing in the future of the beef industry.

“The beef facilities at both AFBI and CAFRE urgently require investment.  Some being used have been in place for decades and are no longer fit for purpose. If we are serious about improving this industry we need more investment in research facilities.  We also need more advisers on the ground who can work with farmers to boost the profitability of their businesses.  This will ensure the sector keeps delivering for the local economy – and it has to be remembered that the industry here competes with others making this type of investment in their future,” he said.

The UFU says there is an appetite in the industry for innovation, with this clear at the recent conference for farmers jointly organised by the UFU, CAFRE, AFBI and the LMC.

“There, the DAERA minister, Michelle McIlveen, commented on the benefits of working together.  She also acknowledged that sustaining the red meat sector will depend on maintaining and improving its competitiveness and sustainability. The ball is now in her department’s court to show it is serious about backing the industry by committing to meaningful investment.”

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