THE Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) announce Joe M Stewart OBE, LLP, JP has been appointed as Chair of the LMC Board. John Hood, David Mark, Sean McKeever, David Torrens and Elaine Willis join Joe as new members on the LMC Board.
Joe said, “As Chair I am very much looking forward to working with the newly appointed Board members, as we alongside the staff team, drive forward LMC’s service delivery for farmers, stakeholders and the wider agri-food industry.”
He continued, “Having served for two years on the last LMC Board I have always been impressed with the enthusiasm of the LMC team in supporting beef and lamb producers across Northern Ireland (NI).”
Joe has confirmed that a review of the Commission’s strategic plan will soon commence with the Board and staff team united in their determination to drive forward the interests of beef and lamb producers and processors in NI.
Taking stock of LMC’s broad and varied portfolio Joe noted that sustainability will be an area of growth for LMC. He continued, “Overarching the sustainability agenda in NI is the need to comply with relevant legislation. LMC is playing a central role with industry and government partners in the development and roll-out of several important sustainability initiatives including livestock genetic improvement, measuring and managing carbon emissions and the reduction of industry losses through animal health and welfare improvements.”
For decades the Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIBL FQAS) has been a central area of work for the Commission. Joe reiterated the Commission’s commitment to NIBL FQAS going forward. He said, “We will continue to build on the strong foundation laid down through the management and delivery of NIBL FQAS as we move forward. With over 11,500 members, NIBL FQAS is established as an integral aspect of the beef and lamb sector in NI. NIBL FQAS works closely with farmers, processors and retailers to provide unrivalled and independent guarantees to consumers about the provenience, traceability and quality of beef and lamb.”
Reflecting on the scope of the Commission’s educational and promotional work, Joe confirmed that LMC delivers in the region of 500 demonstrations per year reaching around 10,000 primary and post primary pupils. “The LMC Education Programme plays a key role in LMC’s overall Strategy,” Joe said. He added, “Our team of cookery demonstrators engage young people and consumers across NI on behalf of LMC. They provide factual insight to the production and quality credentials of NIFQA beef and lamb and showcase our world leading NIFQA produce in tasty recipes. The Board and I value the work each of our demonstrators do for LMC and our levy payers.”
The Commission’s market information services are highly valued within the industry. The service supports producers and processors with their decision making by making available accurate and timely information that creates a better understanding of the trade. LMC is committed to creating an environment where its stakeholders are well-informed whether this is through the provision of basic statistics, further analysis / examination of this data or the delivery of information through events like the Red Meat Prospects Conference. Joe remarked that the Board look forward to the continued delivery of these programmes of work.
Concluding Joe said, “What is clear is that neither LMC nor the industry within which we deliver our services can afford to stand still and let change happen around us. Looking at the future direction of policy, a key focus for farmers and industry stakeholders will be to work together with government to co-design and drive forward the environmental and sustainability agenda.
“LMC is in no doubt that the sector will plan and respond to the many challenges and opportunities that it will face in the years ahead.”