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10 February 2014 05:35:20|

Pasture experts join the PFLA team


Tom Chapman

Four new directors with extensive grassland experience and knowledge of retailing grass-fed produce have joined the board of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (PFLA).

The PFLA is a community interest company of more than 100 farmers, butchers and grassland specialists, all championing an approach to producing beef and lamb entirely from grazed and conserved pasture.

Farmer members who follow the PFLA standards for rearing and finishing livestock, can access the growing market for pasture-fed meat, which research shows carries many health benefits to consumers.

Tom Chapman currently manages a herd of 135 native-breed suckler cows (Sussex and Hereford) under a mob-grazing regime in Hertfordshire. He introduced this system in 2009 and completed a Nuffield scholarship on the subject in 2011. He is particularly keen for arable producers to introduce beef enterprises into their systems, as he believes intensively-grazed cattle can help improve impoverished soils.

Mr Chapman has worked for Grant Thornton, HSBC and the Clydesdale Bank, before starting his own consultancy in 2007. He has been elected Chair of the PFLA Finance Committee.

Mark Bury, who manages Eversfield Organic near Okehampton in Devon, has considerable corporate experience. He and his family have been retailing award-winning 100% grass-fed beef and lamb from their farm for 12 years. Consumer demand has grown considerably and the business now sources grass-fed meat from other farmers in the South West. The on-line Eversfield butchery shop sells a wide range of organic meat-box options.

Mr Bury is the PFLA director responsible for business planning and supply chain mechanics.

Sara Gregson, an agricultural journalist and communications specialist based in Cambridgeshire, with a passion for grassland farming, has also joined the board. In 2006, Mrs Gregson used a Nuffield Farming Scholarship to find ways to encourage pastoral farmers to make more use of their pasture. She currently edits the British Grassland Society’s magazine Grass and Forage Farmer and is a member of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Mrs Gregson’s areas of responsibility at the PFLA are promotion and farmer communication.

Worcestershire beef farmer Dave Stanley runs his own environmental consultancy and is a director of the Institute of Environment and Assessment (IEMA).

Mr Stanley is passionate about the importance of farming within natural cycles – in particular the carbon cycle, and is convinced grazing livestock can play a vital role in mitigating climate change.

Mr Stanley will be directing the R&D efforts of the PFLA as well as uncovering research which supports the idea that natural systems should be taken into account in food production.

Speaking about the appointment of the new board directors, PFLA Chairman
Dr John Meadley said: “We are delighted to welcome these committed, knowledgeable and enthusiastic people onto the management team.

“Without doubt they will all help move our efforts forward, as we encourage and help more beef and sheep farmers access the growing market demand for pasture-fed meat.”

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