Welsh producers to highlight sustainability during Great British Beef Week

Welsh producers to highlight sustainability during Great British Beef Week

According to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), Welsh Beef producers will highlight the sector’s sustainability credentials during Great British Beef Week, held 23-30th April.

Ben and Ethan Williams work on Garth Farm near Cardiff.

The nationwide campaign was created by Ladies in Beef, and founded by Devon beef producer Jilly Greed and former NFU president Minette Batters. Supported by various trade bodies, the campaign will celebrate the versatility and taste of home-produced beef, while highlighting the commitment and dedication of beef farmers to sustainable practices.

HCC’s campaign executive Philippa Gill said: “Without the abundant rainfall we have here in Wales, the Welsh Beef story wouldn’t be what it is today. Beef cattle in Wales are overwhelmingly reared in non-intensive farming systems, using Wales’s natural resources – water and grass.

“PGI Welsh Beef has an incredible story to tell – from the people who produce it, the sustainability and environmental credentials of our Welsh Beef, as well as its versatility and great taste. Those are all things that HCC is going to champion and amplify during the week – taking a multi-pronged approach to highlighting the uniquely Welsh credentials which we know resonate so well with consumers.”

HCC’s head of sustainability and future policy Rachael Madeley-Davies said: “All sectors of human activity – including agriculture and food production – have a role to play in responding to the climate emergency and addressing questions around sustainable food production.

“HCC recognises that difficult choices have to be made, and creative solutions found, to feed a growing world population equitably without further degrading the environment and adding to climate change.

“We believe passionately that food and farming in Wales are already making a positive contribution, and we will support the red meat sector to ensure they are equipped to face the challenges of the future.”

Sustainable producers in Wales

Fourth generation beef and sheep farmer Ben Williams, who farms alongside his brother Ethan on the outskirts of Cardiff at Garth Farm, spoke to HCC, saying: “The native grassland is not intensively farmed here. The animals are grown at a slower rate, so you get better fat marbling in the meat. When our customers see where our animals graze, in a natural environment amongst the native grassland and heather, I think they can really taste the difference.”

The Williams family on Garth Farm keep a flock of almost 700 ewes and 20 rams, and have a herd of pedigree Welsh Black cattle consisting of 46 suckler cows, two bull and some Welsh pigs.

The land encompasses Garth Hill, a scheduled ancient monument, and the Williams play an integral role as custodians of the land. Their grazing management allows biodiversity to thrive, while ensuring their animals get the best nutrition, feeding on grass and herbs as nature intended.

Williams said: “My grandfather carried out work on the hill in the 1950s, which greatly improved the biodiversity here. Visitors to Garth Hill today can appreciate nature at its best – with birds such as sky larks and kestrels thriving,

“We have a rich environment with native grass species and native woodland. We have planted 80,000 trees over the years and continued to lay hedgerows for the past 20 years, which are a haven for wildlife. There is plenty of tree cover, so we have many birds nesting here.

“It’s good to know that while our cattle are grazing in this rich and diverse natural environment, they are helping to protect it. I think this is what makes Welsh Beef so special.”

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