FUW rejects Red Tractor beef lifetime assurance

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has rejected proposals to ratchet up Red Tractor Farm Assurance rules on the grounds that it would add to bureaucracy and increase costs along the whole supply chain.

A consultation issued in January by Assured Food Standards on the Red Tractor Assurance scheme proposes that cattle should only achieve farm assured status if they have spent all their lives on assured farms – under the current rules animals achieve the same status after 90 days on a Red Tractor assured farm.

However, Farmers’ Union of Wales members have rejected the proposal, saying it will increase costs for farmers throughout the supply chain without any guarantee that sufficient premiums will be returned to the industry in order to reflect those costs.

“Wales already has a world-wide reputation for producing high quality, grass fed beef, acknowledged by the PGI branding that accompanies Welsh beef into homes across the UK and beyond,” said FUW livestock wool and marts committee chairman Dafydd Roberts.

“All cattle keepers in Wales have to adhere to strict animal health and welfare and traceability rules which are not present in other countries.

“Additional costs and restrictions have been introduced this year as part of the new Common Agricultural Policy rules, so this is the worst possible time to propose yet more bureaucracy and costs for the industry,” Mr Roberts added.

The union has consistently rejected proposals for lifetime assurance, including in its 2014 consultation response to Welsh Lamb and Beef Producers Ltd, the main body responsible for farm assurance in Wales.

“The appetite for dictating more and more management practices on farm is inappropriate and an unnecessary burden on the industry. Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) cost of production figures highlight that even the top third of beef producers are struggling to cover their costs. Lifetime assurance would add to these costs without any guarantee of improved returns from the marketplace,” added Mr Roberts.

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