Beef producers get a chance at some better returns

Producers will get their first opportunity to get a unique taster of the 'hands on' activities which will form part of this autumn's Beef Better Returns Programme (Beef BRP) at this year's Royal Show (2-5 July).

The team from the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) will be running a number of recorded bull selection demonstrations, live cattle selection displays and beef butchery events on its stand within the Better Returns Beef feature.

EBLEX will also be encouraging English producers to sign up for future free EBLEX Beef BRP events and information.

Sheep farmers will be able to take part in Better Returns lamb selection demonstrations, discuss breeding strategies for ram and ewe selection and watch lamb butchery demonstrations in the Sheep BRP area within the NSA building opposite the Beef feature on Fourth Street.

For exporters, advice and displays will be on hand at the British Livestock and Genetics Export Centre (Stand M404 on Avenue M) where EBLEX will join experts from Defra and the British Pig Executive (BPEX) to help those interested in international trade.

Chris Lloyd, EBLEX industry development manager, said: "We want farmers to experience for themselves exactly what EBLEX is offering as part of its Better Returns events for the beef and sheep sectors.

"There really is something for everyone, and our objective is to offer simple, practical advice that producers can take home and put into action back on the farm."

More farmers should secure their future by going organic, according to Guy Watson, who is due to be awarded the Royal Agricultural Society of England award for Excellence in Practical Farming at this year's Royal Show. "Gone are the days when organic food could be dismissed as marginal and the preserve of the beardy brigade, We are a force to be reckoned with," Watson said.

Organic food and drink now accounts for 1.2% of the total retail market, according to the Soil Association, and sales are growing at twice the rate of the conventional grocery market. Some of Britain's finest organic food can be sampled and savoured in the Royal Show organics marquee, which is sponsored by Watson's company, Riverford Organics.

Watson said: "At Riverford, We are now employing 300 people and supplying customers throughout the south of England, the Midlands and Wales. Some say that the reason our business is so strong is because we innovate.

"It's certainly true that we are not afraid to combine our passion for producing great food and our commitment to the environment with new business systems and marketing expertise.

"A case in point is our current drive to find partner farmers throughout the UK to join us."

Watson added: "We want to talk to as many farmers as possible to develop a network of farms which will be both commercially attractive and deliver a saner system of food production and distribution than that currently dominated by the supermarkets."

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