Limavady beef finisher Hugh McCollum is the chairman of Aberdeen Angus Quality Beef Ltd (AAQB), the farmer-owned co-operative that has been supplying certified Aberdeen Angus beef to the Foyle Food Group for the past number of years.
He produces 350 finished beef cattle on a yearly basis, buying in Aberdeen Angus yearlings in order to meet this requirement.
“We have 360 actively supplying members, all of whom are dedicated to supplying beef of the highest quality,” said Hugh.
“They are all committed to working with quality Angus cattle but they also recognise the absolute importance of delivering on a range of criteria, including traceability, which give consumers full confidence in the beef they are eating.”
Hugh is quick to confirm the importance of the Northern Ireland Beef & Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIBL FQAS) in this regard.
“I have been FQAS certified for the past 25 years. In fact, I was among the first farmers in Northern Ireland to sign up for it,” he confirmed.
“The scheme continues to deliver for farmers, in terms of the prices available for cattle. But FQAS also plays a key role in allowing producers to meet the highest possible management standards.”
Hugh continued: “In every walk of life, we must meet standards. When we want to use the roads or avail of the health service, we rightly expect that the standard of service on-offer is up to scratch.
“In the same vein, beef producers must be expected to meet the quality standards which consumers demand and it is in this context that FQAS makes such a vital contribution to the livestock industry as a whole.”
LMC’s farm quality assurance manager Daryl McLaughlin was a recent visitor to the McCollum farm. He pointed out that FQAS has succeeded in giving consumers total confidence in the quality, traceability and heritage of the beef they are buying and it continues to resonate at farm level, he added.
“At an industry level one of the key benefits delivered by FQAS has been its role in allowing local red meat processors to secure new export markets. And this continues to be the case. The recent opening of the Philippines’ market is a case in point.”
For further information contact LMC on (028) 9263 3000.