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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Farmers hope for fair EU agreement

AS negotiations over the reform of a major European agricultural agreement reach a critical stage, farmers have stressed its importance.

The National Farmers’ Union has labelled the Common Agricultural Policy, which is currently being discussed in Brussels, a “vital lifeline” for its members.

A recent study showed many beef and sheep farms are loss-making and depend on the single payment to make ends meet.

The figures also revealed that increased costs are set against higher outputs in every type of beef and sheep enterprise.

NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said that higher costs and the recent bad weather had hit farmers hard.

He added: “Beef and sheep producers have really felt the pinch with rising variable costs, and there are a number of challenges we face going into the winter months particularly in terms of the cost of feed and quality of forage.

“But we can work to address these with a focus on improving feed rations and increasing production of home grown forage crops to help replace expensive concentrates.

“Farmers are adaptable – they have modernised their businesses and will look to continually improve in the coming years, especially in fixed costs.

“The CAP is still a vital lifeline for many beef and sheep farms. The NFU will continue to work actively in Brussels to ensure a fair deal for the livestock farmer.”

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