Sustainability The Focus Of Beef Week Campaign

Beef farming was highlighted with the industry backed “Beef Week” campaign.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is taking part in the annual Beef Week campaign which began last Saturday and continues until this Saturday, April 30 in a collaboration with the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) to promote the importance of sustainable beef production in Northern Ireland.

Among the key aspects that the UFU will be focusing on over the course of the week include what beef farmers are doing on-farm to tackle climate change, the nutritional benefits of having Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured Beef in your diet and how the UFU is working on behalf of beef farmers.

Launching NI Beef Week (from left); FQA farmer, Scott Henderson; LMC education and consumer promotions manager, Sarah Toland;LMC marketing and communications manager, Lauren Patterson; UFU beef and lamb chair, Pat McKay; FQA farmer, James Henderson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) and ABP Food Group are working together to showcase Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured (NIFQA) beef and the work of the local farmers who produce it.

The week long initiative will see LMC, UFU and ABP highlight the many health, nutritional and environmental benefits of NIFQA beef. As part of this LMC will launch a social media campaign and welcome contributions from LMC cookery demonstrators, local farmers and the staff team.

LMC marketing and communications manager, Lauren Patterson said, “We are delighted to once again team up with industry bodies to promote our responsibly produced, nutritious, world class NIFQA beef. We have a hugely positive story to tell and we are looking forward to sharing key messages via print and digital platforms throughout the course of NI Beef Week.

“As the Northern Ireland beef and lamb industry’s promotional body, LMC is constantly looking at trends in the marketplace at home and abroad so that we can understand what is driving consumer behaviour. The publication of research into consumer behaviour since the onset of the pandemic has begun to paint a clear picture of the importance consumers place on the provenance and nutritional value of the food they eat. A case in point is the publication of the most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey which reports that 59 per cent of households say they have cooked at home more since the start of the pandemic. It is positive that consumers are rekindling their love of home cooking, and as NIFQA beef is so versatile and packed full of key nutrients, it remains a popular meal choice which the whole family can enjoy.”

Lauren also commented on how NIFQA beef farmers are contributing to an environmentally progressive industry.

She said, “One of the key issues for our industry continues to be sustainability, with climate change now a topic of much debate. Our farmers are taking strides to enhance their contribution to climate change mitigation. It is thanks to their continued dedication to meet world leading standards for eco-conscious farming that we can with confidence claim that Northern Irish FQA beef is among the most sustainable in the world.“The beef sector in Northern Ireland is an integral part of the local agri-food industry. Promoting the work of our farmers and the nutritional importance of including beef as part of a healthy balanced diet has never been more important. NI Beef Week is the perfect platform for us to communicate the benefits of NIFQA beef to consumers.”

UFU beef and lamb chair Pat McKay said, “Beef Week is a key event for the UFU and we’re delighted to be partnering with LMC again this year. It gives us the opportunity to come together to promote our world leading beef sector, showcasing how we sustainably produce high-quality NIFQA beef to world leading animal welfare and environmental standards.

“We’ve an extensive grass-fed system that enables us to produce our nutritious, high-quality beef products, helping maintain the iconic scenery that NI is renowned for. As custodians of the countryside, our beef farmers are a key part of the climate change solution and are continuing to do all they can to reduce emissions on-farm while producing beef for consumers.

“Thanks to the passion and dedication of our NI farmers, beef production is a major contributor to the economy and local communities. We’re delighted to put the spotlight on our local beef sector for the coming week, celebrating everything the sector has to offer and those who work tirelessly within it making our products a firm favourite at home and abroad.”

Beef Week promotes the nutritional aspects of this food.

ABP’s head of supply chain development Liam McCarthy commented, “ABP is delighted to support Northern Ireland Beef Week again. It is one of several, successful collaborations between ABP and LMC to promote NIFQA beef. The ABP Angus Youth Challenge is an important vehicle by which we are working with LMC to educate young people on the health, nutrition, and environmental benefits of NIFQA beef and the care with which it is produced. We look forward to building on that success further and to backing this important initiative over the coming week.”

However beef comes at a cost as beef farmers grapple with huge uplifts on inputs such as fertiliser, feed and fuel. Many farmers remain concerned as to how they will be able to make ends meet in order to stay afloat and remain in business. Livestock markets and factories are seeing more cattle than what would usually be offered.

CAN fertiliser has increased from about £200/ton from spring 2021 to £900/ton this spring – an increase of £700/ton (350 percent increase). Beef finishing rations has increased from £230/ton from spring 2021 to £310 this spring – an increase of £80/ton (34.8 percent). There is also a feed increase of about £20/ton coming from the beginning of April for some merchants which would bring a beef feed ration to about £325-£330/ton. Red diesel has increased from £0.56/l in the spring of 2021 to £1.10/l this spring – an increase of £0.54/l (96.4 percent).

Other factors such as lime, bale plastic, grass seed and minerals have also seen an increase lately, and this will impact beef farmers profit margins as well. As a result of higher input costs, the market needs to return a stronger beef price if beef farmers are to meet these input rises as they cannot be absorbed.

(Source – Impartial Reporter – Farming – Brian Donaldson – 02/05/2022)

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