An excellent turnout of Monmouthshire livestock farmers attended an on-farm meeting held in Llansoy to raise their concerns on the future of the beef and sheep sectors in Wales.
Peter Garbutt, NFU Chief Livestock Adviser addressed the meeting, he said, “The long-term prospects for the sheep sector are encouraging as there has been a phenomenal growth in demand from Asia.
“At home, the NFU has written to all the retailers, asking for home-grown lamb to have prominent shelf space and be part of key promotional activity. We are encouraging consumers to back our product – new season lamb is produced to some of the highest welfare standards in the World, it is vital that retailers show clear labelling of home grown lamb which is affordable and freshly supplied and we hope it can be given pride of place on the shelves.”
Members present raised particular concern on the current beef price situation with a distinct lack of confidence in the sector being felt. Peter Garbutt said, “Domestic demand has fallen as beef consumption has decreased. Consumers are eating less beef as the price has increased in store yet the farm-gate prices have reduced. This is not a sustainable situation.”
John Davies, NFU Cymru Deputy President said, “We must get a fair price for our product, we have challenges that lie ahead as we adapt to the new CAP regime but there are also opportunities for us to grasp. Public procurement is a massive opportunity and we have to sell our products to the public sector. "We as Welsh farmers can deliver a fresh, high quality, tasty product which has a low carbon footprint and we are looking for increased commitment from not only the major retailers, but also schools, councils, hospitals and the MoD.”
Nigel Bowyer, NFU Cymru Monmouthshire County Chairman thanked the host farmers, the Rowlands family of Bush Farm, for agreeing to host the meeting and their kind hospitality.