Levy boards to get £3.5m to promote red meat

The pot of levy money to promote red meat across Britain and abroad has been almost doubled from £2m to £3.5m.

The increase, which will come into effect from 1 April, will help levy bodies the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) to market the nutritional benefits of British red meat and its high standards.

The additional funding will focus particularly on bolstering the reputation of red meat with consumers, addressing misconceptions and promoting the benefits of sustainable meat consumption.

See also: NFU20: Myth-busting toolkit helps farmers tackle bad press

A joint statement from the three levy boards said: “We believe the time is right to strengthen this collaboration and increase the overall investment made in the joint fund for the next 12 months.

The environmental benefits of grazing livestock

  • The UK is one of the most sustainable places in the world to produce beef and lamb thanks to its temperate, maritime climate and geography
  • Grazing ruminants actually help manage permanent pasture as an effective carbon sink
  • Grazing cattle and sheep aid biodiversity and managing our unique countryside
  • Without grazing ruminants, more than 60% of agricultural land in the UK would be taken out of food production, because it is not suitable for cropping

Source: AHDB

“The industry is under tremendous pressure and we feel we can make even bigger progress on market development and export work, to find new markets for our products overseas, and the ongoing reputation work to promote all that is good and defend the industry from myths and misinformation.”

Defra farm minister Victoria Prentis said she looked forward to working closely across governments and levy boards to open up more opportunities for red meat to be enjoyed both at home and around the world.

“Our red meat levy boards do brilliant work together to promote British meat so I’m very pleased to see this £1.5m increase to the ring-fenced fund,” she added.

“I’m proud to champion our hardworking farmers who produce red meat to exceptionally high animal welfare standards, while also leading the way on sustainability and protecting our environment.”

Extra funding welcomed

NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said the additional funding would be welcomed by Scottish livestock producers.

“It’s never been more important that every part of the industry collaborates to ensure that our fantastic story on sustainable, climate-friendly meat production is heard by all,” he added.

What are the benefits of eating red meat?

  • Meat is bought by 99.2% of UK households, and 91% of UK households buy red meat (Kantar Worldpanel, 52 w/e 21 April 2019)
  • Lean red meat is packed with vitamins and minerals that help boost good health and wellbeing
  • Meat is a valuable source of protein, iron, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium and iodine
  • There is no proven, causal link between red meat and cancer. Any alleged link is from an associative study only

Source: AHDB

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