Big thank you from

Jenny Monroe talks to Seamus McMenamin

Seamus McMenaminSEAMUS McMenamin works for the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) for Northern Ireland which is based in Lissue House on the Ballinderry Road. The 23 year old, from Castlederg County Tyrone, grew up on a farm and following a degree in geography he obtained a scholarship from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and completed a Masters in sustainable rural development and project management.

Seamus is responsible for the delivery of the Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NI FQAS) and the provision of services to the farming community. Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assurance means that the highest European production methods are used by farmers to ensure uncompromising food safety, high animal welfare and care for the environment. The NIFQA Scheme guarantees quality, safety and traceability.

My job mainly consists of dealing with farmers who come to us for advice. I am on hand to help them with any queries regarding the NIFQA Scheme. Most of the time my work involves helping them with paperwork. I can do this over the phone but often I go out to see them in person and help them resolve any issues they may have.

The Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC), founded in I967, is responsible for providing a range of services to the Northern Ireland beef and sheep meat Industry, and with advising the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on matters relating to the sector.

The main areas in which LMC seeks to serve are in the provision of market information to producers and processors, the representation of the Industry on all appropriate occasions, and the development and implementation of generic level marketing initiatives in home and export markets.

LMC is at the centre of the Northern Ireland red meat industry supplying information right across the supply chain. As part of their promotional activity, LMC is planning this year's Beef Week which run from Monday 8th - Sunday I4th February. It will celebrate and promote NIFQA beef. We have a range of activities planned to mark Beef Week, including sampling in over 30 supermarkets throughout Northern Ireland during which shoppers can see, smell and sample the best of Northern Ireland's beef cooked in store.

Our staff will be on hand to offer advice on cooking NIFQA beef and give a range of mouth-watering recipes to customers.

Shoppers in the Lisburn area can enjoy sampling in Tesco's Bentrim Road store and Sainsbury's at Sprucefield. Just look out for the logo. I have been with LMC for six months and while I am still learning the ropes I am really enjoying my role. It is also a real privilege to be the person responsible for ensuring that the quality of Northern Ireland's beef and sheep meat is maintained at the highest possible standards and that consumers are guaranteed quality, safe and traceable produce. On a personal level, getting the position of Farm Services Manager was a big achievement but from a work point of view, NI Farm Quality Assurance Scheme has hit a new record with 92.4% of all clean beef born in Northern Ireland being farm quality assured in 2009. This is not just a major vote of confidence for the scheme by the NI farming industry but it gives consumers the guarantee of quality, safety and traceability and ensures that while NI may be a relatively small player, we are in a very strong position to compete with the best.

Ulster Star