Pilot Project Aims to Boost Profitability and Sustainability of Welsh Beef

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A pilot project which aims to boost the profitability and sustainability of the Welsh beef sector has been awarded a grant of £100,000.

The project – Decarbonising PGI Welsh Beef – will appraise the impact of varying the age of finishing beef cattle on both economic return and greenhouse gas emissions.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is leading this work and is currently recruiting a total of 50 farmers – 25 from Ceredigion and 25 from Carmarthenshire – to participate in the project, which is funded by the ARFOR Challenge Fund. Benefits for those involved include free carbon audits and free financial analysis which could lead to increased profits for farm businesses.

The ARFOR Challenge Fund aims to strengthen the relationship between the economy and the Welsh language in north and west Wales. It is a financial fund which awards grants for pioneering solutions to community challenges in the areas of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

HCC’s Policy Development Lead, Russ Thomas said:

“We were pleased that our bid for this grant was successful and very much look forward to working with beef farmers to develop the efficiency of their businesses whilst also measuring the potential impact on the environment.

“As the red meat sector comes under growing pressure to reduce carbon and methane emissions, it is important that the sector in Wales considers how its farmers are operating and managing their farming practices, both economically and environmentally.

“This project will use historic and current market intelligence, along with individual farm performance data. It will focus on the factors that influence behavioural change to promote and encourage beef finishing within a reduced rearing period, through evidencing economic efficiency whilst mitigating methane emissions.”

By working with a group of 50 farmers, the work will generate information and results to inform and benefit the wider industry across Wales. These include increased Welsh prime beef output with reduced stocking density and emissions, brand improvement for PGI Welsh Beef with evidenced sustainability, and improved confidence in the beef sector for consumers.

The work will support the Welsh language and the farming sector – two important elements that are intrinsically linked and are the backbone of rural Wales.

Sara Davies, Innovation and Business Growth Projects Manager at Menter a Busnes said:

“The aim of the ARFOR Challenge Fund is to secure innovative solutions to the challenges that exist across ARFOR, focusing on strengthening the relationship between the economy and the Welsh language.

“The fund encourages organisations to collaborate trans-border and to use the Welsh language to stimulate economic growth, which in turn will lead to benefits for the wider community.

“We look forward to seeing how the wide range of schemes across the four counties develop over the coming months.”

Russ added:

“The PGI Welsh Beef sector continues to make a sustainable, positive and responsible contribution to the challenge of worldwide food security. Initiatives such as this highlight the commitment of the industry to do all it can to mitigate climate change in every way it can.

“If you would like to work with HCC to maximise Wales’ natural advantage in producing red meat in a sustainable manner, and taking action to reduce emissions further, contact us on 01970 625050 or info@hybucig.cymru for more information about the project.”

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