23rd October 2013

QMS focuses on grassroots uptake of technology to improve sustainability and confidence

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has announced plans to sharply focus its industry development work of grassroots activities aimed at improving the efficiency, sustainability and confidence of the Scottish red meat industry.

QMS has undertaken a review of the structure and activities of its industry development department and, following the conclusion of this review, a number of changes have today (Wednesday October 23rd) been confirmed. These will be phased in over the period to the end of March 2014.

“One key factor influencing the decision to more sharply hone our industry development activities was keen awareness of the need to tackle the considerable threat presented by falling critical mass of beef cattle numbers,” said Uel Morton, QMS Chief Executive.

“QMS’s overall strategy is to shape a sustainable and prospering Scottish red meat industry and the shortage of beef cattle numbers is now the greatest threat facing the beef industry in Scotland, placing immense pressure on our processing sector.

“Declining livestock supply also means declining levy income for QMS and it is vital we continue to target the budget we have available to us to deliver maximum value for money for our levy payers. To do so we must remain light on our feet and respond robustly to the challenges and opportunities in front of our industry.

“The industry in Scotland has fantastic brands, such as Scotch Beef PGI, which have huge potential for growth in the home and overseas markets but without adequate supplies of product this opportunity is at very real risk of being missed,” Mr Morton said.

Among the key areas considered during the review process were the need to maximise the impact of QMS activity to support cattle production in Scotland and to take a fresh look at the balance of effort the organisation applies to scientific research compared with the grassroots uptake of technology at farm level.

The changes will see a new industry development structure introduced to more effectively meet the organisation’s remit to improve efficiency. This will see the creation of three new roles: two Knowledge Transfer Specialists who will focus on the uptake of technology by cattle and sheep producers and a Brands Integrity Manager.

The new structure will mean the following existing roles will be phased out - Livestock Development Manager, Technical Projects Manager and Science and Innovation Manager.

The aim during the implementation of these changes will be to avoid loss of employment where possible.

Along with our Chairman and the QMS board, I am confident the changes we are introducing will result in a stronger, more effective industry development service to our community of levy payers.  This will further strengthen the role QMS plays in the development of a sustainable and prospering Scottish red meat industry.”

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