Neil Shand, former chief executive officer of the British Simmental Society, has been appointed interim CEO of the National Beef Association (NBA), following Chris Mallon’s departure from the post earlier in the year.

Mr Shand, until recently a trustee of the NBA, will carry the organisation through to the Beef Expo, at Darlington, which is expected to be staged later in the year.

NBA chairman, Andrew Laughton, said: “‘Neil has been filling the void after Mr Mallon’s departure at the end of January. During this time, he has represented NBA members and the beef industry in general, in a wide range of industry discussions in influential forums, both at national and at government level.

“He has overseen a significant lift in the quality, quantity and scope of material produced, and has been particularly effective in raising our profile and making the voice of our members heard on social media. As a result, we have seen a new lease of life in the organisation.”

Mr Shand has huge ambitions for the sector to include the branding of NBA beef. “Today’s consumers are more connected with home produced beef as a result of Coronavirus and we need to work hard to keep them.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, beef sales in Asda alone have increased 30% compared to the same weeks last year, so there is huge demand for beef and quality beef, despite what some people in the industry would lead you to believe.

“We also have to seize the importance of food security and move it further up the agenda of the future Ag Bill.

“Food security must be considered of the same importance as the environment,” added Mr Shand.