Following a two-year absence due to Covid, the National Beef Association's Beef Expo event at Darlington Farmers Auction Mart, certainly made it's mark having attracted a record number of trade stands along with 10 times more pre-purchased tickets than in previous years.

The event, the largest technical beef event in the UK had plenty to celebrate with a wealth of new information and more technologically advanced equipment on display to assist farmers.

"We are back and bigger and better than ever before," said Neil Shand, the National Beef Association's (NBA) chief executive.

"The premises here at Darlington are second to none and the perfect location for this long intended event."

Mr Shand admitted, the beef industry had done well during the pandemic, but warned there are challenges still to come.

"We are starting to feel the challenges now, with the most difficult part to hit later in the year as a result of the rising costs of fuel, fertiliser and feed. Costs of production are going to be scary.

"Everyone is going on about the cost of living but the cost of production for farmers is far higher – it is a very worrying time," warned Mr Shand.

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"It is time to focus on getting support for suckler cow herds and fast, last year witnessed a reduction in calf registrations of 10,000 and we need to address this if we are going to continue to feed ourselves. The industry needs support and now," he said.

Andrew Laughton, NBA chairman added: "There are some big changes coming our way in both the replacement of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and rising costs, and the requirement to produce as much food domestically as we can, whilst still aiming for environmental targets has never been more acute."

Visitors were welcomed for the first main event to be at the new Darlington Farmer’s Auction Mart's premises which opened during the pandemic in 2020, having been officially opened earlier this year by Prince Charles.

"We have been excited to host this event here, having had the market open for two years now we have been ready for the challenge. The show of cattle today is the best of the best from all over the country since we are such a central location point," said Mark Dent, chairman of DFAM.

"As a market we need to supply a service and support for farmers. We want to make it a place for people to come and socialise with everyone, as the industry is so isolated.

"Despite animal rights protesters on the roof we all thoroughly enjoyed our day and it was great to showcase what the industry has to offer," he concluded.

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