Living decently by profession: a fixed idea for Jean-Marie Goujat. Passionate, the Idéale breeder, the Charolais cow muse of the Agricultural Show, testifies to the pride and fears of a profession in great economic distress.
"Our vision of breeding is not to seek to make numbers, it is really to seek to make quality, and also to make a living from our profession," said AFP M straight away. Goujat, who hears from Saturday and nine days during this speech committed to the political world visiting the fair.
This 33-year-old breeder, married and father of two, takes great care of the 125 Charolais cows he raises in Cours-la-Ville (Rhône), in a small mountain area about fifty kilometers from Charolles ( Saône-et-Loire), the cradle of the breed.
With his father and his brother, Mr. Goujat aims to "make a breeding that corresponds to the values that we defend, respect for the environment, the animal, but also man. And so that respect the man, we say to ourselves that we must be able to live by our profession and be able to raise our children without living on the margins of society. "
However, the flag bearer of the Salon earns "less than the minimum wage", he explains: "I do not consider that it is correct, when we work 70, 80 hours per week. And honestly we are not the worse off, we make the label, we value our animals for reproduction. "
In order to legitimize his desire for worthy remuneration, he is making efforts to meet societal demands: agro-environmental measures, conservation of flora ...
He thus notes that all the meadows of the farm "are maintained without pesticides", which protects "plants which are specific to our terroir, for example the yarrow, which is sometimes used in catering, or the country luzule" .
His animals are also pampered, 1,000 leagues from intensive agriculture: "our cows, from April to November, they live in the meadow, they each have one hectare of land. (...) Winter , they live in buildings and they eat the fodder that has been harvested on our land ", underlines the breeder, who sells part of his meat in red label.
- China's appetite -
Jean-Marie Goujat is part of a trend advocated by the Interbev meat industry.
"The concern today, for all the work that is done (...), is that we lack value for our animals," said AFP Guy Hermouët, president of the cattle section of Interbev. "Our sector plan was to move upmarket, to be able to justify taking into account our production costs."
Concretely, the objective is to increase the total of red label meats from 3% today to 40% on the shelves of all stores by 2023, while imposing an annual contract: taking into account production costs would add one euro more to the kilo of red label meat, at 4.60 euros, says Hermouët.
Only problem, this kind of contractualization with distributors "remains small initiatives, about which much is said but which for the breeders represent small volumes", nuance Jean-Marie Goujat.
According to Interbev, the average income of breeders in 2018 was 13,000 euros per year (gross before social charges and before taxes) and fell further by 20% in 2019.
"Today, the income of breeders is catastrophic. Tomorrow if we do nothing, the breeding will disappear," warns M Hermouët. A slump that, according to him, the downstream of the sector is beginning to take into account, starting with the processors, in particular the all-powerful Bigard group.
"There are export markets that are opening up, especially to China," warns Mr. Goujat, for whom quality French meat, if it was not valued enough, could ultimately be exported.
© 2020 AFP