Farmers sign up for supply chain scheme

Producers of Sainsbury's Taste the Difference beef queued up last Wednesday evening to sign up for Farm Connections, an

innovative scheme to help integrate them into the professional supply chain.

The scheme will provide them with free laptop computers, beef enterprise software and full support and training. Three hundred and fifty producers, who supply premium ranges of beef to ABP, destined for Sainsbury's, heard about the project directly from the supermarket's fresh foods trading director, Karen Schenstrom, at their annual meeting in Shrewsbury.

"Farm Connections is about connecting all the links in Sainsbury's premium beef supply chain," said Schenstrom. "Instead of producers being isolated on their farms, they will have the meat chain at their fingertips. I want them to be able to click a button and see everything - from information on carcase quality, to the latest market data and consumer trends.

"Many farmers feel like pawns in the market rather than players - mainly because they are not connected to the retail market, the consumer and the market and price information available online."

Farm Connections is a £1m-plus project, funded by and involving: ABP, Sainsbury's, Meat South West, Advantage West Midlands, HCC - Meat Promotion Wales, and the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF).

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