The Scottish red meat industry has a fantastic opportunity before it but, according to Jim McLaren, Quality Meat Scotland chairman, it is vital producers act now to ensure product is available to meet that demand.
Speaking at Norvite’s 40th Anniversary Conference at Thainstone in Aberdeenshire today (November 6th 2013) Mr McLaren said the results of a huge amount of excellent research are readily available to producers and he urged farmers to “take a leap forward in their adoption of already proven solutions.”
“This week we have seen the re-opening of the USA market to Scotch Beef and the fact is that doors are now opening for Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb in a range of exciting markets,” said Mr McLaren.
“This is sending a very strong signal of confidence to Scottish livestock producers to increase productivity to be able to meet that demand and reap the rewards which lie ahead. Key to this is ensuring farmers make the most of the latest technology and advice available to improve performance.”
The past year has held many challenges for our industry, observed Mr McLaren, from the exceptionally wet weather to the significant re-structuring in the Scottish processing sector.
“The horsemeat scandal, of course, dominated the headlines early in 2013. In fact, the horsemeat issue presented our industry with a huge opportunity to show that our house is in order and we took every opportunity to do so.“Our industry has made a major commitment to traceability and quality assurance from farm to processor which puts our brands - Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork - in a strong position when issues such as these arise.” It is important, added Mr McLaren, that the industry remains on the front foot and vigilant for any sensible and workable opportunities to further strengthen the existing measures to protect the brands.
“From a food security standpoint the challenge for our industry, as global demand for quality meat continues to rise, is to produce more livestock more efficiently, using fewer inputs. We must continue to strive to raise the bar to improve efficiency and reduce waste from field to plate,” he added.