Representatives from every link of the beef food chain have been pulled together to construct an expansion plan for the future of the industry.
The group, under the chairmanship of Jim McLaren, chair of Quality Meat Scotland, have been instructed by rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead to come up with a sustainable and long-term growth plan for beef production within Scotland.
“2020 Beef group” members are: Rob Livesey (NFU Scotland), Scott Henderson (Scottish Beef Association), Ian Anderson (Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers), Alan Kennedy (Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Associations), James Graham (Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society), Gavin Hill (SRUC), John Gregor (Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers Scotland), Louise Welsh (retail sector), James Withers (Scotland Food & Drink), Frank Strang/Martin Morgan (Scottish Government) and Uel Morton/Stuart Ashworth (QMS).
Commenting on the announcement of the group and the challenge it faces, McLaren said: “Exciting new market opportunities are now emerging both at home and abroad. We have a world-class product, however the major concern is that tight supplies are impacting on us fully capitalising on growing demand.”
The group, who have to report back to the Scottish Government by June, will not only have to identify what more can be done to create growth opportunities for the supply of beef cattle in Scotland but also how the measures to do so can be brought into being. While it has a wide remit, the group will not look at direct support from the common agricultural policy, nor at marketing and export promotion.
McLaren added the group was keen to hear constructive views of others working in the Scottish red meat industry on the opportunities to drive growth in the Scottish beef industry and thoughts and suggestions for the group to consider could be emailed to Beef2020@qmscotland.co.uk