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

Beef sector calls on Red Tractor to review Greener Farms Commitment

23rd October 2023

The beef sector has joined growing criticism against Red Tractor's Greener Farms Commitment (GFC) module, calling for the body to review the standard and the timing of its rollout.

Due to come into effect next April, the voluntary 'bolt-on' environmental module was announced without consultation from the farming industry.

The NFU Council recently called for a review into how Red Tractor's governance could be improved following the announcement and timing of the GFC.

Now the National Beef Association (NBA) has said it "leaves questions over the costs to food producers of meeting the requirements of this extra level of assurance".

The new module will be available to the supply chain from 1 April 2024, with an aim to enable farmers to make commitments and track their own progress across five key areas for environmentally focused farming.

These include carbon foot printing; soil management; nutrient management; waste management; and biodiversity.

Speaking for the NBA Board, CEO Neil Shand condemned the process of the announcement and the backdrop of its roll out with the current economic climate.

He said: “We would like to express our disappointment at the timing and content of the new GFC standard, which was recently launched by Red Tractor without any proper and detailed consultation with industry stakeholders.

“The NBA Board absolutely understands the environmental challenges that lie ahead. Our industry is already committed to delivering extensive environmental benefits and will continue to do so.

"As SFI develops in England, further advantages will become apparent, along with a benefit to producers – which includes financial gain as opposed to extra cost and increased administration."

Mr Shand said that the NBA also stood against assurance programmes, or any third parties, imposing restrictions on the amount of land used to produce food in a country not self-sufficient.

Red Tractor should consult and collaborate with industry stakeholders before any new regulations were introduced, he said.

“The NBA calls on Red Tractor to review the standard, including its content, the timing of the rollout, and the principles of earned recognition for producers."