New HCC chair sets out priorities
At her first Board meeting as the new chair of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), Catherine Smith has laid out the levy board’s priorities for the new financial year.
The meeting – held virtually due to Covid restrictions – welcomed two new board members in Jack Evershed and Emlyn Roberts, received analysis of consumer trends as Britain emerges from lockdown, and confirmed the organisation’s priorities for the coming year, the first following the long-awaited reform of the Red Meat Levy in April to secure a fairer deal for Wales.
The levy reform, enabled by the passage of the Agriculture Bill in Westminster and discussions between the three governments, means that producer levy on animals reared in Wales but slaughtered over the border will be transferred to HCC and no longer be lost to Wales.
Catherine Smith said: “The change in the levy has been long awaited, and will provide greater transparency and equity for farmers here in Wales.
“We have exciting plans for the year ahead, building on the very positive work that HCC has undertaken in responding effectively to the twin challenges of Covid and Brexit.
“Central to our plans are building on the successful consumer engagement and brand building work that’s seen increases in sales of red meat over the past year, and new listings for Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef in major retailers.
“We also plan to work closely with governments and with our partner organisations in England and Scotland to secure access to new markets for our respective products and develop trade.
“HCC will also give a very high priority to promoting the world-leading environmental credentials of how we produce lamb and beef here in Wales, building on our ‘Welsh Way’ vision. We will also undertake crucial work alongside partners elsewhere in Britain to defend and enhance the reputation of our industry. Key milestones are coming up this year such as the COP26 summit in Glasgow. It’s vital that the public understands that not all methods of farming around the world are the same, and that we have a positive contribution to make to sustainability and global food security.”