Members vote for NBA to work as development partners with Meat South West
30th October 2014
National Beef Association members have voted to use a proportion of the money raised on November 13th at Beef South West to promote West Country Beef – an EU-recognised brand which processors are keen to source but are finding hard to secure.
Peter Baber, Chairman of Meat South West, spoke to an open meeting On Tuesday at Trethorne Golf Club near Launceston in Cornwall. He outlined the requirements farmers must meet if stock is to be eligible to sell under the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) logo - exclusively as West Country Beef.
“The National Beef Association has been approached by a number of processors who would like to source cattle eligible for PGI status. However, there is no known register or database of volumes of stock available. The NBA would like to create a producer club so when an abattoir is looking for stock it knows where to go,” explained Bill Harper, NBA South West council member.
“The question put to members was if they valued their stock enough, the NBA was offering to help promote West Country Beef and therefore make sure the benefits of PGI status - a well- respected and recognised brand – could work for them. With a majority vote, it was therefore decided the NBA would be one of the development partners with Meat South West.”
As major processors continue to buy up smaller independent businesses, a competitive base price is becoming harder to secure. Any producer signing up for eligibility to sell under PGI status is therefore able to offer stock to an additional marketing opportunity.
“The NBA would like to keep a register of which cattle are available to sell under the West Country Beef label. Once that database is clearly available we can allow market forces to take place and any interested players in the processing market can then procure enough product for customers interested in stocking West Country Beef. Only once this information is available to all interested parties will we be able to introduce competition: That is the only way to raise the price and create a premium for this specific product,” explained Mr Harper.
Currently 25% of the beef and lamb produced in Great Britain is sourced from the South West. Mr Baber went on to explain the region supports 57% of the UK’s flower-rich meadows and is well known as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It is also able to grow grass over 220 days of the year and is therefore ideal for producing finished cattle off grass – rather than in intensive feeding lots. These criteria have helped the region secure the PGI status and go a long way to seeking favour with the consumer when deciding what product to buy when faced with a range of choices on the supermarket shelf.
Required Criteria to meet PGI for West Country Beef
Stock must be born, raised and finished in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire
Stock should be fed on a diet which is at least 70% forage-based
Producers should be members of an assurance scheme (Red Tractor) ENDS