‘Resist taking lower beef prices’

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and Stormont Agriculture Committee Chairman William Irwin MLA has said concerns are mounting amongst beef producers on the continuing downward trend on pricing.

Mr Irwin has urged meat plants to respond more positively to the current crisis by placing more value on local producers.

He stated: “I have been taking soundings from producers across Northern Ireland and many people who contact me are getting very concerned at the continuing downward trend in pricing for beef production. There is a growing sense of anxiety out there amongst producers who are making losses with their product and that type of situation economically, is unsustainable and damaging for beef production in Northern Ireland.

“In recent months prices have slumped by around 30p per kilo and that amounts to a significant loss for the producer and I have said it before and have no hesitation in reiterating my comments, that the meat plants need to realise that the local producer is a very essential and valuable part of the supply chain and therefore needs to be more fairly recognised.”

He said: “For producers feed costs have remained high along with other production costs and processors are showing a disregard for the realities of production in these circumstances.”

He said there are significant challenges facing a number of sectors within agri-food production and the finger can be pointed to processors and retailers.