New Scottish beef sector climate group announced

Recommendations will be produced to improve the efficiency, productivity and profitability of Scottish beef
Recommendations will be produced to improve the efficiency, productivity and profitability of Scottish beef

A new farmer-led group in Scotland will examine how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the suckler herd.

The group, headed by former NFU Scotland President Jim Walker, will consider proposals for alternative ways to support the suckler sector to mitigate its environmental impact.

It will also identify practical ways in which it can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Recommendations will be produced to improve the efficiency, productivity and profitability of Scottish beef.



This will include changes to breeding and feeding practises and the restoration and improvement of natural on-farm habitats.

Announcing the group, Scottish government's Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Our beef sector must change and adapt if we are to meet our ambitious climate change and biodiversity targets.



“I have asked Jim Walker to chair a farmer-led group to specifically look at what our beef suckler herd needs to do and bring forward initial proposals next month.

“I have been clear that our farmers, crofters and land managers are part of the climate solution,” he said.

“But equally, I am clear that achieving our legally binding commitments will require everyone to consider what they can do to ensure they play their part in driving the sector towards a low-carbon, sustainable future.”

Jim Walker said the industry has faced multiple challenges over the last 25 years and its resilience and ability to rise to these challenges and adapt is 'remarkable'.

“Providing progressive beef farmers with the tools to make their businesses more productive and efficient, alongside measures to improve on farm emissions to help fight climate change, is yet another chapter in this story and is potentially game changing.

“Naturally reared, climate friendly Scotch suckler bred beef needs to be differentiated from imports and dairy beef to give consumers a clear choice.

“This initiative will give those farmers who want to be involved a real chance of delivering this, helping make their businesses more robust,” Mr Walker said.