Scottish beef organisations to merge

Two organisations representing beef farmers in Scotland have announced an intention to unite and form a single, independent body. The Scottish Beef Cattle Association (SBCA) and National Beef Association Scotland (NBAS) have been discussing a union for two years and are now calling on Scottish beef farmers to endorse the move.

Today (14 Dec), SBCA chairman Scott Henderson has written an open letter to Scottish beef farmers,  explaining the reasons behind the decision and asking for their support.

“In speaking to many within the Scottish beef industry, there is a clear voice calling for a single beef organisation to ensure the demands of Scottish beef farmers are heard and heeded in the corridors of power in Edinburgh, London and Brussels,” he said.

“This single body will be focused on the political, technical and marketing challenges of beef farming in Scotland – while ensuring that positive relations are maintained with other farming bodies in the UK and the rest of Europe.”

Henderson insisted that the new body would be inclusive of both SBCA and NBAS members. Our agendas for Scotland are essentially the same and it is obvious that we need to consolidate into one body,” he said. “We have spent long enough debating the way forward to a single body and my directors are insisting that we now make rapid progress.”

He added that the future success of the single body would depend on the quality of directors elected to the board and the input of farmer members. “SBCA members and NBAS members now have the opportunity to drive this forward – equally important, we need to see the rest of Scottish beef farmers join with us,” he concluded.

The Scottish beef industry has been broadly supportive of the move. Jim Walker, former president of the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) said that having two separate organisation lobbying separately for the same outcome was “lunacy” and encouraged farmers to get behind the initiative.

lan Craig, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) said that any move which enabled Scottish beef farmers to gain confidence in rebuilding cow numbers would be welcome.

“However, it’s for producers themselves to decide how best to represent their part of the beef chain in discussions with government ministers and officials, always working in harmony with other representative and industry bodies, such as SAMW, QMS, etc,” he added.

“What is entirely without question, however, is that we all need to work together as an industry to ensure the best possible production, processing and trading results on behalf of Scotch Beef.”