An announcement by Red Tractor Assurance confirming that they will be proceeding with a lifetime assurance scheme for beef has been condemned by the Ulster Farmers’ Union.
Earlier this year, the UFU rejected proposals made by Red Tractor to introduce lifetime assurance, citing concerns about the increased cost and bureaucracy this would create for farmers with no evidence it would bring additional financial returns from the market.
UFU President, Ian Marshall, said: “From the beginning of this process farmers highlighted their anger at how Red Tractor had proceeded with a consultation on lifetime assurance before consulting about whether it is necessary. This is well documented in Red Tractor’s concluding report which explains that there are a significant number of objections to their proposals and that there were clearly more farmers against them than supported them.”
Mr Marshall added that this was not surprising given the lack of detail in the consultation about where the demand for lifetime assurance was coming from, how they expect to deliver it and how it will bring any financial benefit to farmers. “Without the funding that farmers provide to run the scheme, Red Tractor would not be where they are today. I find it deeply disappointing that they have chosen to ignore not only the majority of farmers who have taken part in this process but also processors, auctioneers and other industry organisations who see little value in these proposals,” he said.
Mr Marshall said that while Red Tractor had taken this decision, urgent discussions will now be necessary with all industry stakeholders before this goes any further.