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Post-Brexit red meat trade to be a hot topic at farmer meetings

May 31 2017

With the future of Welsh lamb and beef exports being a major talking point in discussions on the impact of Brexit, Farming Connect and HCC are working together in a drive to help the industry adjust to new trading realities.

As part of a national campaign to help producers prepare their businesses and meet future demand as world markets prepare for Brexit, livestock farmers in Wales are being urged to attend one of the ‘Trade in a global marketplace’  evening events being arranged jointly by Farming Connect and Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) throughout June.

The meetings will be held at the Ivy Bush in Carmarthen on Tuesday 6 June; at Neuadd Glantwymyn near Machynlleth on the 13th; at Llanrwst’s Eagles Hotel on the 20th, and at Brecon Livestock Market on the 27th.

A third of Welsh Lamb production being sold abroad and the vast majority of those exports currently going to the EU, trade was a major topic at last week’s National Sheep Association event in Talybont-on-Usk, Powys, with a packed-out Brexit seminar hearing from HCC and Welsh Government speakers.

“Article 50 has now been triggered so attention is turning to how our industry can adapt, and secure a prosperous future after Brexit,” said HCC’s Industry Information Executive John Richards. “The excellent turnout for the trade discussion at the recent NSA event showed that farmers are aware of the fundamental role that the international market plays in their businesses, and that the worst-case scenario could mean 40% tariffs on meat exports under WTO rules.”

“While growing sales in the home market is part of the answer, we have to ensure a buoyant export market in order to secure good prices for farmers and processors,” added Mr. Richards. “Overseas customers prefer different types of cuts to British shoppers, and international trade also helps to minimise price fluctuation during seasonal peaks and troughs of supply.”

“These events will be a chance for the industry to come together to see how we can best adapt to the challenges ahead,” said John Richards. “Work is ongoing to reassure customers in existing European markets, and to gain new customers further afield. Succeeding in a changed environment will require a real effort right across the industry, including achieving consistent shelf life, producing what the customer wants, and telling the story of our excellent produce.”

With each event chaired by a Farming Connect manager, the events will also provide a platform for delegates to find out how they can tap into the business support services available through Farming Connect’s Advisory Service which is subsidised by 80% for eligible individuals and fully funded for group applications.

“If we can encourage farmers to increase on-farm efficiency, they can increase the number of lambs that meet market requirements from those countries seeking suppliers,” said Dewi Hughes, technical development manager for Farming Connect.

“This in turn will increase producer returns and have a positive impact on the resilience of sheep and beef producing businesses longer term,” added Mr. Hughes.

With plenty of time allocated for question and answer sessions after all the key presentations, Farming Connect expects take up for these events to be high.

For further information, times, dates and locations for each of the four events visit www.gov.wales/farmingconnect.  All places must be booked in advance by contacting the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813 or email: farmingconnect@menterabusnes.co.uk

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