One of the first items on the agenda of the 2017 Balmoral Show was the launch of the Pedigree Cattle Trust, a new group set-up to promote Northern Ireland’s world-class pedigree herds and advocate on behalf of local cattle breeders.
Made up of representatives from across the beef and dairy clubs, as well as their society representatives, the Pedigree Cattle Trust will present a united front to preserve and improve pedigree stockmanship in Northern Ireland.
The Trust was launched at a special breakfast on the first day of the Balmoral Show and saw a large number of people from the agricultural industry attend.
At the launch Brian Walker, Pedigree Cattle Trust, explained the reasoning behind the formation of the new group.
“The superior quality of the local cattle industry has long been recognised but we believe it is important that we join together to do all we can to promote the high quality beef and dairy, both at home and right across the world,” he said.
“As pedigree breeders, we are dedicated to improving the quality, genetics and marketability of our animals. Not only do we depend on them for our livelihood, but the standard of our local herds is also vital to the interests of the processors, retailers and ultimately the consumers.
“Collectively, there are more than 2,500 local pedigree herds and we need to ensure we have a unified and powerful voice. This is becoming especially important as we face a number of upcoming challenges including Brexit and any potential changes to the trading environment in the EU. We also want to work closely with DAERA and other government agencies with regards to the control, eradication and prevention of cattle disease, animal welfare, genomics and animal identification issues; all of which have a direct impact on the future of the industry,” Brian explained.
He continued: “Although traceability is well recognised, it must be enhanced to take into account the needs of the consumer and the affordability for the farmer. Accessibility of information through online computer systems is also key, which would improve farmers’ and vets’ knowledge in terms of testing histories.
“This cannot be done in a standalone capacity; it must be put into action through close working relationships with government. As a body, we would also seek to leverage these partnerships to capitalise on the establishment of a true Northern Ireland brand, showcasing the real value of our herds, including exceptional breeds.
“The Pedigree Cattle Trust is a catalyst and we will advocate on behalf of all local pedigree breeders as we seek to adapt to, and eventually embrace, a new environment.”
The body is currently planning for future meetings and is urging pedigree beef and dairy farmers right across Northern Ireland to contact them with their views and opinions on a range of industry issues.
Brian continued: “To be able to make a difference and fairly represent the local industry, we need a comprehensive overview of what is important to pedigree cattle farmers here. We would value hearing about their experiences and of any issues that they would like to be addressed by the Pedigree Cattle Trust going forward.”
To contact the Pedigree Cattle Trust, email email@example.com.