Livestock marketing groups merge

The organic livestock marketing group which stood up to Dutch-based meat giant Vion earlier this summer is to merge with another cooperative in a bid to form a robust group able to “meet the demands of a changing environment”.

Graig Producers will become the organic trading wing of faming cooperative Meadow Quality in a move intended to provide cost savings and a secure trading environment.

Graig managing director Bob Kennard will join the board of Meadow Quality to ensure that there is a voice for Graig’s members, but the administration of the new cooperative will transfer to Meadow’s Stratford site by the end of the month.  
Kennard said that the merger would open up new markets and provide greater scope for member by forming one of the UK’s largest farmer controlled cooperatives. It had come, he said, as the result of “general circumstances”, but admitted that the incident with Vion earlier this summer had highlighted that “changes were afoot”, following a gradual shift of power further up the supply chain. He said that collaboration between farmers was increasingly important in order to match the scale of the processors.

He said:”We think it’s the right way to go to meet the increaseing pressure from all directions.”

Earlier this year, Graig suspended trading with Vion over “excessive demands” on farmers that it claimed would have serious implications for smaller producers’ ability to get to market and weaken cooperatives who act on their behalf. Vion said that the change is being implemented to improve efficiency and transparency.