National Beef Association
For everyone with an interest in the British beef industry

Ladies of British Beef Celebrated at NBA Beef Expo

2nd May 2024

Region: National

Cumbria played host to one of the one of the most important gatherings for the UK’s beef industry, which saw support and commitment to British Beef Farmers from Government Ministers, and two Limousin X Heifers scooping the top accolades in the National Commercial Cattle Show. 

The National Beef Association’s 2024 Beef Expo took place on Saturday, 27th April, at North West Auctions near Kendal. The event brought together the very best in British cattle in the National Commercial Cattle Show, and the 13 attending breed societies showcased the very best pedigree cattle. With a large trade exhibition and a seminar programme focussing on the future of the beef industry, the 2024 Beef Expo has been hailed a huge success.

A true celebration and exploration of everything the British beef industry has to offer, this year’s event was timed to coincide with British Beef Week. For the first time this event which was very well attended, was free for visitors to attend and Beef farmers travelled the length and breadth of the UK to gather at J36, Crooklands Rural Auction Centre.  The National Commercial Cattle Show, featured over 100 head of cattle with the main commercial classes expertly judged by  Northamptonshire farmer Frank Page. Lincolnshire’s Jonathan Lyon was responsible for judging the baby beef and young handlers classes. In the final line up of overall winners  it really was “Ladies Day”.  

In the National Commercial Cattle Show Neil Slack’s November 2022 born Limousin Cross Heifer, Pepper, took the Supreme Champion accolade, with Stewart and Lynsey Bett, from Kippen in Scotland taking Reserve with their April 2023 born Limousin Cross Heifer, Electra. 

On receiving Overall Champion, Neil said, “It’s tremendous, it’s been a local show to us this year, so that makes it extra special. She’s a fantastic beast, I love it when a plan comes together, it’s a great result!”

Gareth Small and Beth Wilkinson from Leyburn in North Yorkshire scooped Baby Beef Champion with Kind of Magic, a Limousin Cross Baby Heifer, and Kevin Ludgate, from Battlesden Bedfordshire, took reserve with his Limousin Cross Baby Heifer Sexy Pants. Gareth said on winning, “This is her first show out, she’ll be rested now until Christmas, her mum was a very famous show heifer called Pocahontas, who won a lot of shows, and her two full sisters Black Magic and Voodoo Magic were very successful at the shows as well, Black Magic won the Great Yorkshire Show, and Voodoo Magic won in Balmoral. It’s been a great day and we’re just delighted with the result.”

In the Young Handlers Classes it was the ladies who came to the fore with fifteen year old Olivia Matten awarded Champion Young Handler, and Elizabeth Haughan taking the Reserve. 

This year’s NBA Beef Expo saw a record number of more than 100 trade exhibitors and 13 Breed Societies attend the event, to help highlight the latest research developments, technology, and innovation in the industry. The Best Breed Society Stand award was presented to Hereford Cattle Society, Datamars was awarded Best Indoor Trade Stand, and Agri Lloyd scooped Best Outdoor Trade Stand.

To packed audiences, the seminars included panellists from the three main political parties, Sir Mark Spencer, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; Daniel Zeichner, Shadow Minister for Farming, Food, Fisheries and Rural Affairs; and Tim Farron, MP and Westmoreland, Furness & Eden Liberal Democrats, discuss farming, food & finance; leading supermarket procurement directors debate how best to build from farm gate to baskets; AHDB hosted a discussion on whether or not suckler cattle can thrive in a subsidy-free landscape; and Farmers Weekly unveiled the insights from their ‘State of the Industry Survey’.

In summing up his seminar, Andrew Meredith, Farmers Weekly Editor, who presented results of the comprehensive survey on the British Beef Industry said, “The Farmers Weekly Survey was completed by over 1100 respondents, with findings showing an industry that is going through rapid and significant change. Many are scaling up, many are cutting back, and concerns about profitability abound. High prices for finished cattle are welcome but the cashflow needed to get them to that position is a challenge.”

Discussing the day’s successes, NBA Chief Executive, Neil Shand said: “I can only thank everyone, on behalf of the NBA and the organising committee, for coming in great numbers, and I really hope everyone had a great day. 

We really appreciate all the support we’ve had from stand holders, sponsors, and cattle exhibitors, it makes the whole event worthwhile; thank you, very much. We held the event the last weekend in April, as a one off as it was only suitable date this year and we will attempt to  move the date back towards the end of May in 2026.”
The 2024 NBA Beef Expo was supported by mainline sponsors North West Auctions, AHDB, Boehringer Ingelheim, Dunbia, British Wagyu Breeders Association and Warrendale Wagyu, and the British Limousin Cattle Society.