LMC appoints new chair of the Board

LMC appoints new chair of the Board

The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) has announced that Joe M Stewart OBE, LLP, JP has been appointed as chair of the LMC Board.

L-R: Joe Stewart, LMC chair; Sarah Wilson, champion Young Sheep Handler; and Rachel Megarrell at the Balmoral Show in May 2023.

John Hood, David Mark, Sean McKeever, David Torrens and Elaine Willis join Stewart as new members on the LMC Board.

Stewart 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).”

Stewart 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. 

Sustainability will be an “area of growth” for LMC

Stewart said: “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. Stewart reiterated the Commission’s commitment to NIBL FQAS going forward, saying: “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.”

The Education Programme

Reflecting on the scope of the Commission’s educational and promotional work, Stewart 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,” Stewart said. “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.”

Refusing to stand still

It was reported that the LMC’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 said it 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. Stewart remarked that the Board look forward to the continued delivery of these programmes of work.

Stewart concluded: “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.”

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