Ulster Farmers’ Union beef and lamb policy chair Crosby Cleland says that investment in new beef facilities at both AFBI and CAFRE is crucial to ensure that the industry is competitive post-Brexit.
Mr Cleland added: “The beef sector is a major contributor to our local economy and it is crucial that we ensure it remains one of the key pillars of our agri-food industry. Post-Brexit it is even more important that we support this sector so that it can deal with the challenges it will undoubtedly face in the future.”
Mr Cleland says improving the profitability and competitiveness of beef farms continues to be a key goal; as is tackling issues relating to climate change, animal health and reducing anti-biotic usage.
“In order to deal with these challenges we need local research and a slick service for transferring practical solutions down to a farm level. High quality beef facilities must be constructed to replace the existing ones at AFBI and CAFRE which are out of date.”
The UFU has already welcomed the investment in the sheep facilities at CAFRE’s Glenwherry farm and are now calling on DAERA to commit funding to serious infrastructure projects for beef.
“The ‘Progressive Beef Production’ conference held back in November highlighted that there is a real appetite for innovation in the sector. We must build on this enthusiasm by putting the tools in place to deliver the research and knowledge transfer the sector requires to drive it forward,” said Mr Cleland.