Yorkshire beef farmers Michael and Margaret Atkinson hosted International Trade Secretary Liz Truss on their farm yesterday in celebration of Great British Beef Week and to explore how the UK government and farmers can make the most of future export opportunities.
The visit included a tour of Mowbray Park Farm and the 250 strong grass-fed beef herd which the Atkinson’s have been running for over 40 years, and now with the help of their grandchildren, alongside exporting semen and embryos to countries across the world.
Michael said: “In my view, British beef simply can’t be beaten on quality, taste and production standards so it was fantastic to meet Liz Truss today and show her first-hand why British beef is the best in the world.
“We produce a premium product and it was great to see that recognised today. We know there is appetite across the world for British beef and we will need to make the most of this if we are to continue to get the best returns for our product from the market.”
NFU President Minette Batters joined them on the farm. She said: “As we celebrate Great British Beef Week and showcase the incredible quality and sustainability of British beef, it’s important that we grow our exports around the world and find new markets. We have developed a fantastic reputation for quality and we believe this also presents an opportunity to develop our market share in existing countries.
“By expanding our markets overseas we can help set the global standard when it comes to climate-friendly food. Our beef farmers are leading the way in this area, with UK beef production emitting less than half the amount of greenhouses gases compared to the global average.
“This work with the Department for International Trade and its Open Doors campaign is crucial to grow the British brand of quality and sustainability and allow our farmers to fulfil their ambition to be global leaders in climate-friendly food.
“It is good to see the International Trade Department being ambitious when it comes to opening up new export markets, but I also made it clear to the International Trade Secretary that the British brand must not be undermined by trade deals that allow imports of agri-food products that fail to meet our own high standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection. I stressed the important role the Trade and Agriculture Commission has to play here and the need for the government to urgently publish its response to the Commission’s report.”