More pasture-fed producers wanted
The farmer-led organisation has been running for three years and has more than 100 members spread across the UK. It has established a collective brand and a set of standards which defines what this means.
The term ‘pasture-fed’ was chosen over ‘grass-fed’ to provide a clear distinction between what is genuinely 100% grass-fed and what is not. Clear messaging is vital when marketing to consumers who recognise the superior health benefits attributed to meat from animals that have never eaten grain.
Producers can join the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association at any time, but have to comply with the standards before they can become an Approved Supplier. Then they can use the Pasture-Fed mark and trade or retail their livestock under this brand.
Membership is £50 a year and for each animal sold as pasture-fed, levies are taken to support the work of the organisation. Some retailers are now willing to pay premiums resulting in a net gain for farmers.
“With the costs of hard feed relative to grass often 4 to 1, many of our farmers are finding that a pasture-fed system is more profitable even before any premium,” says Russ Carrington, the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association’s executive secretary.
“For those wanting to learn how to achieve this, we have many resources and expertise within the membership. We run a number of events throughout the year where farmers can meet other farmers and see successful pasture-fed production in practice.
“Demand is good in many parts of the country, explained Russ. “In other areas, regional hubs are being established once we have commitment from enough producers to supply pasture-fed meat,” explained Mr Carrington.
Demand in Devon
Eversfield Organics based in Devon is one of the outlets looking for more certified pasture-fed meat. They market beef and lamb direct from their farm and now also source carcasses from other producers in the south-west.
Hamish Bury, head of operations at Eversfield Organics says, “We are very keen to work with more organic pasture-fed suppliers to secure enough supply for our beef and lamb customers. We predominantly want native breeds and are prepared to pay a premium for the right carcass.”
Anna Bury, head of communications at Eversfield Organics says “Grass-fed is now as important for our customers as organic, and being able to offer both widens our market coverage. Last year the Eversfield business grew by 400%, and the forecast is for these markets to keep on growing.”
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