Great British Beef Week can help build Britain’s food brand
As the industry celebrates Great British Beef Week (GBBW), the NFU is urging farmers to use this opportunity to demonstrate why government should support the promotion of world-class, sustainable British beef both at home and abroad.
Earlier in the week Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Stuart and Leanne Fairfax, livestock farmers in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire.
He was joined by NFU president, Minette Batters who said: ‘“We absolutely share the government’s ambition to export fantastic British produce in new trade deals, where we believe we can act as global leaders. It was great to discuss how we can build on the current Open Doors campaign and the potential for the government to match-fund the current £60 million farmer-led investment to drive exports, showcase global Britain and demonstrate that the UK is serious about food and farming exports.
“I did stress to the Prime Minister the importance of the government’s new agricultural policy supporting British food production and how investing in and levelling up rural Britain can deliver huge benefits for the rest of the nation, from jobs and wellbeing for the public, to exports and green growth.
“However, I did raise my concerns about the current lack of information available to farmers about his government’s agricultural transition plan. Farming is a long-term business and farmers will be making decisions now for many years down the line.
“The ongoing uncertainty about how they will replace income under the Basic Payment Scheme is damaging business confidence, which remains negative. I urged the Prime Minister to provide more clarity on his future agricultural policy as soon as possible.”
A crucial time
Commenting on GBBW Batters said: “This year’s Great British Beef Week comes at a crucial time for our country and our farmers. Not only are we exploring life outside of the EU and new market opportunities abroad, but we’re in the run up to the world’s biggest climate conference, COP26, which is being hosted in the UK later this year.
“We have the credentials to be world leaders in sustainable red meat production – to set the global standard for high welfare, climate-friendly beef and help build the British food brand, which is founded on these values, across the world. British farmers already have an ambition to become net zero by 2040 and our beef production is already incredibly sustainable, with greenhouse gas emissions from UK beef already less than half the global average.
“If we are to achieve this ambition, we are going to need both public and political support, and so we must demonstrate why the government should invest in promoting the British brand both at home and overseas. It’s also crucial that clear and honest labelling is in place, not just in retail but also out of home, in order for the public to make informed buying decisions and support British beef.
“As farmers we know the quality of our products. We know how we care for our cattle. We know that our businesses form the backbone of rural economies and communities. And we know how British farming methods help protect the environment, reduce our climate impact and maintain our iconic countryside for everyone to enjoy. So, let’s use this week to share the success story that is British beef and demonstrate why British really is best.”