Beef association calls for suckler cow support

ANY spare cash from a re-assessment of spending in the remote areas of Scotland should be transferred into specific support for suckler cows.

That suggestion was made yesterday by Neil McCorkindale, Scammadale, Oban, on behalf of the National Beef Association. The specific targeting suggestion is different from the proposal last week by NFU Scotland who wanted surplus cash in the Less Favoured Areas of Scotland to be channelled geographically

Between 6 million and 8m may be involved for redistribution, although there is now some nervousness that this cash may be lost to the industry as part of the reduced Scottish Government budget.

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Aware of this, McCorkindale said the NBA was determined that this one-off new funding pool would be used exclusively within the livestock sector. "It should not be siphoned off to soften spending cut losses in other government departments." He explained that all sectors of the Scottish beef industry were worried about the persistent decline in suckler cow numbers but he was certain these concerns would be eased if more farmers were encouraged to hold on to their breeding stock through targeted LFASS payments.

"This is a one-off opportunity to direct a heavy volume of funding at the suckler cow.

"The beef industry has debated long and hard on how best to help farmers keep more cows in the hills and the surplus created by re-basing provides one of the solutions," he said.