Farmison & Co funding scheme aims to revive rare breed cattle
North Yorkshire-based online meat company Farmison & Co is using an “innovative” funding scheme to help put White Park cattle on the menu.
The Ripon company has bought a herd of White Park cattle, one of Britain’s rarest breeds and the symbol of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The herd and their young calves – which are registered with the White Park Cattle Society – are now grazing on a farm in Wensleydale and under the scheme, the farmer will pay for the livestock over 18 months.
When the cows are ready to calve again, a bull will be acquired to expand the herd.
Farmison & Co will provide a guaranteed outlet for the meat, having previously piloted the scheme to build up a 150-strong herd of Dexter breed cattle.
White Park cattle have been part of the British landscape for more than 2,000 years, but their numbers plunged to just 60 in 1973. There are now 950 breeding cows but the breed is still classed as ‘at risk’ by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
According to Farmison & Co, grazing the White Park cattle on ancient land that closely resembles the environment the cattle were bred to graze on will enhance the nutritional profile and taste of the beef, and boost biodiversity.
Farmer and long-time supplier of Dexter beef to Farmison, Stuart Raw, will be the custodian of the herd and will manage breeding and expansion.
“We’re in a position where we can help to promote one of the rarest and most ancient breeds in the country by building the breed up,” he said. “These rare breeds are saved by eating them. The fabulous flavours of the meat speak for itself.”
John Pallagi, Farmison & Co co-founder and CEO, said the company had shown there was a proven demand for heritage breed meat.
He added: “As the link between farmers and consumers, we are in a unique position to protect and enhance this country’s agricultural heritage of which White Park cattle are an integral part.
“Through our innovative scheme, we can offer farmers financial support and give them the confidence that there is a market for beef produced from this beautiful breed.”