ABP host sustainable beef discussion panel at Balmoral

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Innovation, collaboration and communication were highlighted as the key enablers for success at a panel discussion event on sustainable beef production hosted by ABP at the Balmoral Show this week.

Taking part were Philip Hambling, Head of CSR ABP UK, John McLenaghan, Deputy President Ulster Farmers Union, Russell Smyth, Partner, and Head of Sustainable Futures in Ireland and Claire Taylor, Agriculture Commentator and Nuffield Scholar.

Commenting on the 2030 Net Zero pathway, KPMG in Ireland Partner Russell Smyth who heads up the Sustainable Futures team said, "Twenty per cent of the required emissions reduction target can be achieved through efficiency improvements alone. The remaining 8 per cent will involve employing new technologies."John McLenaghan, Deputy President of the Ulster Farmers Union provided a farmer perspective on the carbon reduction agenda saying that that farmers can meet the challenge with the right support adding that, “It was also promising to see recognition by the UK government regarding the importance of food security at the recent UK Farm to Fork Summit. But we need to see targets and how this will apply in Northern Ireland.”

The event was attended by a broad cross section of stakeholders within the beef sector. It was held place 18 months on since ABP introduced its farmer-focused programme for improvement on the sustainability of red meat, PRISM 2030. Phil Hambling who heads up the PRISM programme across the UK explained, “we know the UK can produce some of the most sustainable beef and lamb in the world. Prism is about celebrating those credentials. We have our full complement of 358 farmers on board and are working with our research partners The Anderson Centre and Professor Jude Capper at Harper Adams University. We are taking the learnings from PRISM and sharing them with the wider farmer-supplier base. The aim is to empower them to make decisions about what is best for their business and the environment based on solid data-driven research.”

Pictured at the discussion panel event at Balmoral Show. (Pic: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia)Pictured at the discussion panel event at Balmoral Show. (Pic: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia)
Pictured at the discussion panel event at Balmoral Show. (Pic: Steven McAuley/McAuley Multimedia)

Columnist and commentator Claire Taylor, who is travelling the world on a Nuffield Farming Scholarship for her research ‘Turning the Tide on the Anti-Farming Agenda’ said she has observed global differences in conversations about farming. “The conversation is all based around climate in the EU. Whilst in developing countries it is also about nutrition. Farmers themselves can have the biggest impact on the public opinion because they are authentic. Their stories and experiences are relatable to consumers. We must not lose sight of the great nutritional strengths of beef in the diet when communicating with the consumer too."

In attendance also were some of the Northern Irish farmers participating in the Prism programme. Sam Chesney who farms on the Ards Peninsula said, “we must show the consumer we are willing to play our part in reducing carbon. The recommendations from Prism are easy to implement such as reducing feed intake, switching to multi-species sward, and we’ve stopped the use of soya. We’ve also looked at our breeding for ease of calving age and for earlier finishing.”